Detroit Lions: 53-man roster projection prior to preseason finale
In: (8) Damon Harrison, Trey Flowers, A’Shawn Robinson, Da’Shawn Hand, Mike Daniels, Romeo Okwara, Kevin Strong, Mitchell Loewen
Out: P.J. Johnson, John Atkins, Jonathan Wynn, Fred Jones, Ray Smith, Eric Lee
PUP/IR: Austin Bryant
Rationale: This is easily the Lions’ deepest and most talented position group, though we have yet to see the top unit all take the field together this summer. One has to be prepared for the faint possibility that these eight will not all be active at the same time this season. The group’s depth helps mitigate that remote concern.
Hand suffered an arm injury early in training camp, and will not appear in the preseason. It remains to be seen if he will be ready for Week 1. Flowers has also been nursing his surgically repaired shoulder, and the Lions have wisely been cautious with their prized free agent signing. He should be fine to go against the Arizona Cardinals on September 8th.
Strong has been one of the most pleasant surprises of training camp, and he sticks around here, particularly considering Hand’s injury. They have similar profiles as two-gapping, penetrating tackles, capable of playing multiple spots up front.
Loewen isn’t great at any one thing, but he has demonstrated a well-rounded game in the preseason. Bryant has not been tagged with any injury designation yet, but like Hand, he went down early in camp, hindering his progress and development. Should he land on one of those reserve lists, he would not count against the initial 53, and it would open the door for Loewen.
With Harrison freshly extended through 2021, Johnson’s role is minimized. Few NFL teams keep two nose tackles on the roster, and Johnson hasn’t done much to distinguish himself yet. He is a candidate for the practice squad.