- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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Examining the Detroit Lions' roster. There have been some changes to last week's projection.
This feels pretty set at this point. Kellen Moore will get one more chance to impress coaches Thursday against Buffalo, but he isn't supplanting Orlovsky. James Franklin might not make it past Tuesday's cuts and if he does, he should finally see a snap Thursday. Moore is a practice squad candidate now.
RUNNING BACKS (5)
Sticking with five here for now, with Chad Abram and George Winn as likely practice squad candidates. Owens' head injury could be a concern and if that happens, either Abram, Winn or Mikel Leshoure could end up on the 53-man roster. At this point, the rating of those players would be Winn, Leshoure, then Abram as far as 53-man candidates.
WIDE RECEIVER (6)
No changes here, but it's close. At this point, Johnson, Tate and Ross are locks. Durham and Broyles also have the feel of guys who will end up on the roster. Ogletree has run with the first unit all camp, so he still receives the nod over Corey Fuller, who once again could end up on the practice squad. Andrew Peacock remains a good practice-squad candidate as well, especially if Fuller ends up on the 53-man roster.
TIGHT END (3)
All three will make the roster. Nothing is changing here barring injury.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)
One change here. Michael Williams has played with the second unit the past two weeks over Cornelius Lucas and has been working at both right and left tackle. He also has performed well in those circumstances, and coaches have noticed. That he could also end up as an emergency fourth tight end -- he is still making the transition to tackle from the position -- gives him the edge right now over Lucas, who the Lions might try to slip through onto the practice squad. I don't feel completely confident in that right now as it feels like somewhat of a coin-flip spot. If Lucas makes the team over Williams, Williams becomes almost a lock for the practice squad if he clears waivers.
DEFENSIVE LINE (9)
These are probably the nine the Lions go with, especially since Johnson continues to shine in games. He also has played some special teams, so he has value there. Darryl Tapp feels like the odd man out in this scenario, but there is a chance Detroit could keep 10 since Tapp could play as a stand-up linebacker if need be.
Van Noy's abdominal injury should be a concern at this point and might end up opening up a roster spot if it ends up being serious. The only player in question here is Lewis, but he continues to make special teams plays and is a core special teamer. That's his role on this team. If Van Noy's injury ends up being serious, it's unsure whether another linebacker takes his spot. It could open a spot for one of the running backs, a defensive lineman, or a safety.
This is bold, but right now the Lions could keep only five cornerback -- especially since both Don Carey and Glover Quin can play cornerback in a pinch if needed. Both have done so in their NFL careers. This opens up a spot at safety, where the Lions have more depth and more special teams depth. It's entirely possible Detroit keeps Chris Greenwood or Jonte Green, though. If Mohammed Seisay makes it past Tuesday's cuts, he's a likely practice-squad candidate. This is a definite waiver-wire position to watch as well for Detroit when cuts are made.
Other than Quin and Ihedigbo, not much is certain with this group. That Abdul-Quddus received the start and played pretty well Friday night bodes well for his roster chances. Carey is a core special teams player and, as mentioned above, gives the Lions corner/safety flexibility. Couplin has a real chance to make the roster since he can play special teams and is a long, rangy safety who can hit. He has also seen extensive time during the preseason. Right now the odd player out is DeJon Gomes, who hurt his neck against Oakland and has not practiced since. He is a good special teams player so if he doesn't practice this week, he could end up on IR or reserve IR -- although Van Noy's situation could change that, too.
Martin and Muhlbach remain set. After a week with Giorgio Tavecchio, his missed 51-yard field goal might have really hurt his chances. That's how close the competition has been between Freese and Tavecchio. If he is still on the roster Wednesday, that is actually a better sign for him than Freese. This is another position to watch the waiver wire on, especially if Arizona releases veteran Jay Feely or Kansas City cuts vet Ryan Succop.