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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Frank Ragnow, Detroit Lions
Frank Ragnow, Detroit Lions (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Offensive Line

In: (9) Taylor Decker, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Frank Ragnow, Joe Dahl, Jonah Jackson, Tyrel Crosby, Kenny Wiggins, Logan Stenberg, Beau Benzschawel

Out: Matt Nelson, Dan Skipper, Oday Aboushi

Rationale: The starting five appears to be set, including Jackson, who seems like the clear choice to open the season at right guard as a rookie. It will be interesting to see if the Lions opt to implement the same type of three-man guard rotation that they used last year, which yielded mixed results.

Crosby is locked in as the lone reserve tackle, with Wiggins able to man a bookend spot in a pinch. Count on the Lions stashing at least one and possibly two tackles on the practice squad.

They don’t have an experienced center behind Ragnow, though Stenberg and Benzschawel could be groomed for that spot, and Wiggins or Dahl could slide over in an emergency.

In response to the pandemic, an important alteration to the NFL’s roster regulations has been implemented.

Teams can increase their roster up to 55 during a game week with players from their practice squad and can have up to 48 players active on game day, up from 46. In that case, one of the two extra players must be an offensive lineman. Those two players revert directly back to the practice squad after the game.

This exception means that the Lions could use that flexibility to use that roster spot for a different position. Still, we have them keeping nine at the outset. As we’ve seen countless times, offensive line depth is paramount, so it seems doubtful that the Lions would keep less than nine despite the new roster regulations.