The Detroit Lions depth chart and roster has to change due to the players selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. This is who is most affected by those changes.
The 2020 NFL Draft is now over. And the Detroit Lions, along with 31 other teams, have made their selections. The newly added players affect the depth chart and roster of every team in the league. This is how it could impact the Lions roster.
Last week I wrote about the need for there to be roster spots for every player drafted. Not everything worked out exactly as I predicted, but then I’m sure the draft didn’t fall exactly as the Lions predicted either. For that matter, I can’t find any fans who foresaw all of what happened.
I updated my estimated depth chart (a google document) with a post-draft tab and then added each draft pick into where I think they are best suited. I have not yet put any on the bubble or in the ‘fighting for a roster spot’ columns because the Lions wouldn’t have drafted the player if they did not think the player would make the roster (even though some probably won’t). The first-round pick becomes an immediate starter, as usual, the rest need to earn the starting spot if they can.
I kept the offense and defense even with 25 players apiece and moved those with lesser contracts or less experience outside of the 53-man roster (the other three players are special teams). They will need to compete to earn a roster spot. For now, look who was moved out just because of the nine players drafted.
At cornerback, Mike Ford moves over with the Jeff Okudah pick. I’m not saying they’re sure to cut Ford, I’m saying he now has to earn a spot on the roster (along with the rest of the players on that side looking in). I can say with all certainty that there is no way the Okudah is cut, his contract will be guaranteed.
At running back, Ty Johnson moves over with the D’Andre Swift pick. The Jason Huntley pick in the fifth round forced me to move a wide receiver over, in this case, it was Marvin Hall. Players fighting for a roster spot aren’t just fighting against those who play the same position, a good enough player can knock out a player from a different position. It happens every year.
At EDGE / Jack linebacker / outside linebacker the addition of the third round pick Julian Okwara (Romeo Okwara‘s younger brother) forced me to move over free agent pick up Elijah Lee (for now, we’ll see if that stays that way). The other third-round pick, guard Jonah Jackson throws backup guard Beau Benzschawel out (again, for now). The Lions also drafted another guard in the 4th round, so Logan Stenberg moves another backup guard out, in this case, I choose Kenny Wiggins but it could be some other.
In the sixth round, the Lions drafted nose tackle John Penisini and to make room for him, at least for now, I moved over John Atkins. Finally, in the seventh round, the Lions drafted defensive end / defensive tackle Jashon Cornell which pushes out Kevin Strong.
Like I said before, the actual draft picks that will make the final roster is unknown until such time as they have a chance to compete for a job. That means, for now, the draft picks get the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise. Who goes into the fighting-for-a-roster-spot column will also change due to competition at all positions, and injury, and salary cap, and other players being signed, and so forth.
The makeup of the roster is an ongoing endeavor. The front office won’t ever clap their hands and say, “done!”. If you don’t agree with this article, go ahead and print the estimated depth chart linked about and pencil in your own ideas. Do try to keep it 25 offense, 25 defense, and 3 special teams, as the Lions will try to do so as well.