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Friday, August 29, 2014
Detroit Lions' projected roster

By Michael Rothstein

Examining the Detroit Lions' roster. This is the final projection of the roster. A practice squad projection will be up this morning, too.

QUARTERBACKS (2)
Kellen Moore did what he could and might make it hard on the Lions coaches when it comes to deciding whether or not to keep the third-year quarterback as the team's No. 3 quarterback. Stafford is the starter. Orlovsky is the backup based on his preseason snaps and everything I've seen. Moore remains a true question mark.

RUNNING BACKS (5)

Another tough call here. Staying with five in the final projection, although I could easily see a scenario where George Winn makes the team. Would be somewhat surprised if Mikel Leshoure stuck considering he does not bring special teams value and and did not run well in the preseason. Both Winn and Emil Igwenagu are practice-squad candidates.

WIDE RECEIVER (6)

Staying the same here, too, although Corey Fuller did catch another touchdown pass. If he doesn't end up on the final 53-man roster, the Lions will hope he slips through waivers for the practice squad. Broyles was curiously playing very late in Thursday's finale, so his spot might not be as secure as initially thought. Both Fuller and Andrew Peacock are practice squad possibilities.

TIGHT END (3)

All three will make the roster. Nothing is changing here barring injury.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

One of my toughest calls might be a surprise -- to the point I made a chance from Thursday night to Friday morning when it came to Garrett Reynolds vs. Rodney Austin. Austin did not have a good camp, and on Thursday night, I had Reynolds overtaking him on the final projection. Yet after sleeping on it, keeping Austin seems like what the Lions will do. It would not surprise me if Reynolds ended up here instead of Austin, though. Williams vs. Cornelius Lucas is also a tough call, but Williams appeared to outplay Lucas in the preseason and both have major potential as a fourth tackle.

DEFENSIVE LINE (10)

As you'll see below, I pulled linebacker Kyle Van Noy off of the final roster projection because I think he ends up on injured reserve with a designation to return. This opens up one roster spot and I think it goes to Tapp, who has the flexibility to play defensive end or linebacker in an emergency situation. That might be enough to give him a roster spot in a position group that otherwise feels pretty set. If Van Noy doesn't go to IR in any capacity, he makes the team over Tapp.

LINEBACKER (5)

As mentioned above, I moved Van Noy to injured reserve in this projection, opening up a roster spot. If the Lions choose to keep a sixth linebacker, it would probably be Julian Stanford, but Lewis should beat him out and Detroit has other needs elsewhere. The other four linebackers are close to locks. If Van Noy doesn't go to IR in any capacity, he makes the team over Tapp.

CORNERBACK (5)

Another tough position call. Mohammed Seisay is likely bound for the practice squad, so it comes down to whether or not the team keeps Chris Greenwood on the active roster or tries to sneak him through to practice squad for one more season. Greenwood could very easily end up on the roster and if the Lions are feeling really adventurous, they could try to cut Lawson and move him to the practice squad, but Greenwood feels like the odd player out in the defensive backfield.

SAFETY (5)
DeJon Gomes heading to injured reserve made this position much easier to predict. Quin and Ihedigbo are the starters. Abdul-Quddus had a better preseason than almost any other player on the roster. Carey is a special teams dynamo and has position flexibility. Couplin is a rookie and raw, but can play special teams and has the potential to eventually replace Ihedigbo in a couple of seasons.

SPECIALISTS (3)

No changes here. These are your specialists.