Detroit Lions: Predicting the final 53-man roster

Detroit Lions. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions will need to cut down their roster to 53 players by Saturday. With one more preseason game left, here’s our final roster predictions.

Fringe players have one more preseason game to prove they belong on the Detroit Lions active roster. Yet, for many potential Lions, Thursday’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns will be their final game as a professional football player.

By this Saturday, the Lions will need to cut down their bloated 90-man roster to only 53 players. Who stays? Who leaves? Here’s our best guess prediction of what Detroit’s final 53-man roster will look like after this weekend’s purge.

Quarterback (2)

Matthew Stafford
Matt Cassel

Analysis: Through training camp and the preseason Matt Cassel and Jake Rudock have competed for the primary backup position behind Stafford. And although Rudock is 11-years younger than Cassel, the latter’s vast experience and previous connection with new head coach Matt Patricia likely gives him the nod here.

Running Back (5)

LeGarrette Blount
Kerryon Johnson (R)
Theo Riddick
Ameer Abdullah
Nick Bellore

Analysis: Pretty cut and dry here as the biggest question out of this group is Abdullah. Detroit seems more than happy to keep the former second rounder as a change-of-pace back and special teams returner. But if they can swing a trade in the coming days, it would not be a surprise to see Ameer being shipped elsewhere.

Wide Receiver (5)

Golden Tate
Marvin Jones
Kenny Golladay
T.J. Jones
Brandon Powell (R)

Analysis: I think Powell’s 80-yard punt return for a touchdown last Friday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sealed his fate for making the active roster. Through the preseason, the undrafted receiver out of Florida has racked up 15 catches for 99 yards through three games. I believe that production forces the Lions to keep five receivers.

Tight End (4)

Michael Roberts
Luke Willson
Levine Toilolo
Hakeem Valles

Analysis: The lack of a standout tight end this offseason will likely make Detroit keep four on the roster this season. Although Roberts is rumored to be on the bubble, the 2017 fourth rounder has too much potential to give up on this early.

Offensive Line (9)

Taylor Decker
T.J. Lang
Ricky Wagner
Frank Ragnow (R)
Graham Glasgow
Tyrell Crosby (R)
Joe Dahl
Corey Robinson
Kenny Wiggins

Analysis: The presence of two talented and versatile rookie lineman could allow the Lions to go a bit lighter here. But because they are rookies and considering the fact a majority of the starters struggled with injuries last season, it would probably be wise to keep nine here.

Defensive Line (9)

Ziggy Ansah
Anthony Zettel
Kerry Hyder
Da’Shawn Hand (R)
Ricky Jean-Francois
Sylvester Williams
A’Shawn Robinson
Cam Johnson
Jeremiah Ledbetter

Analysis: The recent addition of defensive end Robert Ayers and his subsequent release on Tuesday only proves this Lions’ front office is not satisfied with what they’ve seen out of this defensive line early. Although these nine lineman could make the initial final 53, some may only do so for a day as Detroit will likely look to the waiver wire to improve this area.

Linebacker (7)

Jarrad Davis
Devon Kennard
Christian Jones
Jalen Reeves-Maybin
Eli Harold
Miles Killebrew
Jonathan Freeny

Analysis: Detroit could go even heavier at linebacker this season considering the fact they will be playing in the 3-4 at times under Matt Patricia’s multiple scheme. If they do, they could keep Trevor Bates on as well.

Cornerback (5)

Darius Slay
Nevin Lawson
Teez Tabor
DeShawn Shead
Jamal Agnew

Safety (4)

Glover Quin
Tavon Wilson
Quandre Diggs
Tracy Walker (R)

Next. Detroit Lions all-time wide receivers in the ‘Tecmo Bowl’ era. dark

Specialist (3)

Sam Martin, P
Matt Prater, K
Don Muhlbach, LS