- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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The offseason workouts have concluded and with players and coaches about six weeks away from the start of training camp, one last rest and individualized training period will commence.
After a month of workouts, though, there have been some players who have made cases for potential roster spots in the fall and others who did not help themselves nearly as much.
Just like the start of the spring workouts, here is a look at the Detroit depth chart – along with a post-minicamp guess at the 53-man roster that could end up being the Lions’ team in the fall. Remember, a lot can change between now and then.
Changes from our May offensive prediction are in parentheses.
Projected starter: Matthew Stafford (no change)
Thoughts: Stafford remains Detroit’s starter and barring injury, that won’t change. Orlovsky will be the No. 2 quarterback – and that probably isn’t changing, either. The main battle in camp will be between Moore and Franklin for the No. 3 spot, if the Lions take a third quarterback. Franklin took no snaps in the spring, but Lions head coach Jim Caldwell indicated he’ll see live game action in the preseason.
Roster locks: Stafford; Orlovsky (add Orlovsky)
If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Stafford, Orlovsky, Franklin (practice squad) (Franklin from 53-man to practice squad)
Projected starter(s): Reggie Bush/Joique Bell
Thoughts: Bush and Bell aren’t going anywhere. Riddick was one of the stars of the spring and looks like he’ll end up having a role in the offense beyond special teams this season. Leshoure missed part of spring workouts, so it is tough to say where his role will be this season, if he has one. But Detroit has its first three running backs pretty set right now unless it makes a free-agent move at the position.
Roster locks: Bush, Bell, Riddick (add Riddick)
If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Bush, Bell, Riddick, Leshoure (no changes)
Projected starter: Jed Collins.
Backups (in projected depth-chart order): Montell Owens, Chad Abram.
Thoughts: This is a tough position to pick. Collins is the clear favorite heading into camp, although Owens’ spot on the roster could depend how Detroit feels about the rest of its teams units. If there is comfort there from other spots, Owens might be out of a job. If not, the Lions might keep him along with Collins because Owens can be a running back as well. Abram is probably headed toward the practice squad.
Roster locks: None. (no changes)
If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Collins, Owens, Abram (practice squad) (add Owens to 53-man, move Abram to practice squad)
Projected starters: Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate
Thoughts: This was the spring of Jeremy Ross. He will make the roster at least as the team’s returner but probably showed enough during the spring to at least enter training camp with a good shot at being the team’s third or fourth receiver. Another surprise was Broyles, who if he can stay healthy could end up making a contribution in the fall. He isn’t a roster lock yet, but will certainly get some opportunities. The competition for the third (or fourth) outside receiver will be one to watch in the fall.
Roster locks: Johnson, Tate, Ross (add Ross)
If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Johnson, Tate, Ross, Durham, Broyles, Jones, Fuller (practice squad). (Add Broyles to roster from PUP, move Fuller from roster to practice squad.)
Projected starters: Eric Ebron, Brandon Pettigrew.
Thoughts: Moving Michael Williams to tackle all but assured Fauria a roster spot in the fall. It also means Detroit is probably going to carry only three tight ends on the roster unless either Thompson or Maxwell makes a massive move during training camp. The other thing benefiting Fauria is Ebron’s struggles with catching the ball at times.
Roster locks: Ebron, Pettigrew, Fauria. (Add Fauria)
If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Ebron, Pettigrew, Fauria. (Minus Williams)
Thoughts: This position seems fairly settled other than the No. 4 tackle spot. Reiff and Waddle aren’t going anywhere and Hilliard will likely push Waddle for a starting spot. As of now, Lucas has the inside shot on the fourth tackle position.
Roster locks: Reiff, Waddle (no changes)
If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Reiff, Waddle, Hilliard, Lucas.
Thoughts: Warford is not going anywhere and Rodney Austin had a good enough spring that both he and Swanson might make the roster as swing backups that could end up as starters by 2015 to replace Sims and Dominic Raiola. As long as Sims is healthy, he’ll make this team and start as well. The interesting question might be a practice squad candidate out of this group.
Roster locks: Warford (no changes)
If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Warford, Sims, Austin, Bullard (practice squad)
Projected starter: Dominic Raiola
Backups (in projected depth-chart order): Swanson, Austin, Darren Keyton, Bullard.
Thoughts: Raiola is the starter here. Austin and Swanson will eventually compete for the starter’s role. Pretty cut and dry here.
Roster locks: Raiola, Swanson. (no changes)
If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Raiola, Swanson.