Detroit Lions’ early 53-man roster projections: Defensive tackle


Defensively for the Detroit Lions, arguably no position is weaker than defensive tackle. Not much should differentiate from last season to now.

The Detroit Lions had one of the worst pass rushes in 2016. Considering how healthy the defensive tackles were last season, it was shameful to see the kind of production the Lions got out of the position. Minimal impact moves made in the offseason means the struggles should continue to trend in 2017.


There isn’t much to get excited about with this defensive tackle unit. A lot of wishful thinking and prayers are needed if the Lions are to improve in stopping the run and getting pressure from the inside. I foresee 10 defensive lineman making the roster, but only four of them are defensive tackles.

Haloti Ngata

Easily the most experienced presence at this position. You can not only tell he’s 33 years of age, but you can see his game has really declined. His leadership skills are invaluable and they should serve him well in his efforts to help pave the way for the youngsters behind him.

A’Shawn Robinson

I’m excited to see the second-year player from Alabama take off in his first season entering as the starter. He was effective batting passes down at the line of scrimmage in limited duty, and showed flashes of being a force stopping the run and getting after the quarterback. His snap count will be much higher this season, so his production should only skyrocket.

Akeem Spence

If it wasn’t for the guaranteed money in his contract, I would say move on, but that isn’t going to happen. His first two seasons were fairly decent, but since then, his play has been uninspiring. One of the more questionable signings in all free agency, I don’t predict much to come from this player.

Jordan Hill

Another player that started off his career in years one and two on the more positive side. Being available to play is his biggest issue. If he can manage to stay healthy, he has the talent to make a huge difference, especially as a pass rusher.


It’s a little too easy to be able to pick out the serious contenders from the rest. Some interesting cases can be made for a few players. Not enough proof is in the pudding to reserve those players a spot on the final roster, unfortunately.

Khyri Thornton

Had it not been for a six-game suspension, he would have been on this roster. It’s more so a familiarity within the system and flashes of good play as to why I felt confidence in him to stick around. The Lions would be wise to move on and save some money in the process because his return to the lineup wouldn’t make much difference.

Jeremiah Ledbetter

Another very close call to squeeze on the roster. The sixth round draft choice from this years’ draft made the transition from defensive end to defensive tackle last season while playing at the University of Arkansas. Despite being known as a physical freak, the rookie most likely needs a year to put on some healthy weight to succeed in the interior.

Ego Ferguson

No matter how hard he tries, he just can’t seem to stay healthy. The ex-Chicago Bear didn’t play in a single game last year due to injury. His rookie season in 2014 showed promise, but since then, his career has been nothing but injury-riddled, meaning the likelihood of him surviving the final roster cuts are highly doubtful.

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Bruce Gaston

He came into the NFL a project and is still in the same boat today. After not being on a roster last season, it shouldn’t come as any surprise to see him not make it with the Lions either.