Detroit Lions: 53-man roster prediction prior to season opener

Detroit Lions (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Here’s the latest 53-man roster prediction for the Detroit Lions with their opener just 10 days away

It’s almost here. After an offseason full of uncertainty and unprecedented adjustments due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Detroit Lions are just a few days away from setting their initial 53-man roster.

By 4:00 p.m. EST this coming Saturday, September 5, NFL teams must reduce their roster size to no more than 53 players. Teams had to trim their roster down to a maximum of 80 players as of August 16, a number that the Lions have carried for essentially all of training camp.

Naturally, teams will have to navigate those difficult personnel decisions in the wake of a shortened offseason program. Rookie camps, OTAs, joint practices, and of course preseason games were all jettisoned in order to help avoid outbreaks of COVID-19 and salvage the regular season.

It hasn’t been perfect, but the Lions and the NFL deserve a lot of credit for taking all of the necessary steps and precautions to avoid large numbers of infections. So, far so good.

The Lions enter 2020 under pressure to rebound from a dreadful three-win 2019 season. They navigated the unusual offseason while adding a number of key pieces to the team through free agency and the draft. Now they must decide who stays and who goes.

Here we present our prediction for the Lions opening 53-man group, though the roster is obviously subject to changes at any point in the season.

A key facet of the NFL season’s operation in the shadow of the pandemic will be the implementation of an expanded practice squad. Though the NFL has done an excellent job of helping keep infection numbers very low all summer long, the possibility of players contracting the virus exists, necessitating the presence of a stable of reserves available at any given time.

For this reason, practice squads have been expanded to 16 players this year, up from ten in previous seasons. Also, teams can now protect four players on their squad from being signed by other teams, a provision which did not previously exist. These alterations should help the Lions, as well as other teams, keep a group of players familiar with the system around the team and available in the case of virus transmissions.

Of note, players on the Physically Unable to Perform List (PUP) at the start of the season and suspended players do not count against the 53-man roster.

Here is our presumption for the squad that will take the field for the Lions as they prepare to face the Chicago Bears in Week 1 …