In: (5) Tracy Walker, Duron Harmon, Will Harris, C.J. Moore, Miles Killebrew
Out: Bobby Price, Jalen Elliott
Suspension: Jayron Kearse
Rationale: Walker and Harmon are the clear starters, and they could become one of the best safety tandems in the league this season. That is if Walker continues his upward trajectory and Harmon brings his ball-hawking nature and knowledge of the defense with him from the Patriots.
Harris endured a bumpy rookie year, but more will be expected of him this season. His snap counts increased significantly towards the middle of 2019, and he was a fixture on special teams all season. He could be in an interesting competition for playing time with Moore, who seems ready to audition for a bigger role this year after playing almost exclusively on special teams in 2019.
Killebrew is capable of playing both safety and linebacker, though we list him with the safety group in this projection. He has never developed into the defensive playmaker that the Lions saw flashes of in his first few seasons, but he has become one of the Lions’ most reliable special teams stalwarts, and he returns for a fifth season in Detroit.
Kearse will miss the first three games of the season due to a suspension. Outside of unforeseen circumstances, he will be placed onto the 53-man roster upon his return. That will give the Lions three contests to determine which end-of-the-roster player they will need to cut to incorporate him.
As undrafted rookie free agents, Price and Elliott fall victim to the consequences of having no preseason games to prove their worth. The Lions could keep tabs on them throughout the season if a need arises in their secondary and they are available.