Almost all of the uncertainty here lies in not knowing whether or not the offense will make big changes on offense. I would expect as many as ten spots to be identical to this past season, unless a new offensive coordinator is brought aboard.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford is fresh off of another solid year. Of course, only winning nine games doesn’t sit well with the Lions faithful; his 29 touchdowns to ten interceptions, his 65.6% completion rate, and 4,446 yards passing are all near the tops in the NFL ,though.
Jake Rudock, the backup from last season, is an exclusive rights free agent (ERFA). That means that the Lions have to offer him a contract by the start of free agency (March 14th) to keep him from being an unrestricted free agent.
Quarterbacks are the most important player on the team. Stafford has shown incredible toughness and keeps playing even when hurt. NFL players respect him for that.
With Rudock not signed into 2018, changes could be made behind Stafford.
Rookie, Kenny Golladay, was excellent when able to play. Golladay gets downfield and makes tough catches, he could breakout next year.
Tate is in the last year of his current deal, but the Lions are expected to re-sign him.
The Patriots feature many three to four receiver sets, and like quick slot guys. Golden Tate thrives on after-the-catch yardage from the slot.
At tight end, Eric Ebron battled through a rough first half to finish the season strong.
Rookie, Michael Roberts looked pretty good, as well. Roberts can block and catch, whereas Ebron is more strictly a receiver.
The Patriots often employ two-tight ends, including splitting Gronkowski out wide. A role Ebron could fill, if he continues to improve like he did late in the year.
That’s the good news. Up next, the bad news …