Detroit Lions: DeJon Gomes

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions are a little over a week away from the season-opener against the New York Giants, and one starting position remains largely unsettled: right tackle.

 Corey Hilliard and LaAdrian Waddle have been competing at the position throughout the preseason. During training camp, they were rotating with the first team every other day. Coach Jim Caldwell was not ready to name a starter at the spot yet, although Hilliard played with the first unit throughout the first half of Friday's preseason game against Jacksonville.

"The guys have been battling for it and doing a great job," Caldwell said. "We haven't named one as of yet and we have a while before our first game. Guys are doing a tremendous job, I think, working and challenging one another, and we'll get a chance to see how they end up."

Earlier this preseason, both Hilliard and Waddle seemed confident they could fit in well with the rest of the offensive line -- in part because they both already had. Both started games at the position for Detroit last season and played well while they were in there.

It is that same reason that Caldwell appears to have confidence in either guy, even if both have struggled at points during the preseason.

"There is a comfort level with them because they both are performers," Caldwell said. "They do a nice job. They perform extremely well. It is a very, very close competition so I think at this point, we would feel very, very good regardless of which one ends up winning that particular job."

Some other notes from Caldwell's 10 minutes with the media:
  • DeJon Gomes went on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Caldwell would not say whether or not Gomes will need surgery on the shoulder and declined to give any other details.
  • Caldwell said Reggie Bush has sat out the past two days of practice due to "rest."
  • If the Lions keep just two quarterbacks on the roster, they have plans for an emergency quarterback. Caldwell declined to name any of the players who could possibly fill that role. He said Detroit would make it known if the Lions ever needed to reach that point.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Jim Caldwell said the Detroit Lions are still evaluating the abdominal injury suffered by rookie linebacker Kyle Van Noy.

Meanwhile, the second-round draft pick has missed his second straight practice.

"I'm not certain yet. He's still under evaluation. He's still got to see the doctors," Caldwell said prior to Monday's practice. "Doctor is going to tell him to go to a specialist to take a look at it and we'll make a determination at that point in time where he is."

Van Noy was one of three Lions players not practicing Monday, joining safety Don Carey (hamstring) and running back Reggie Bush. Both TJ Jones and DeJon Gomes were in attendance as well, but Jones is on the PUP list and Gomes is on season-ending injured reserve.

Running back Montell Owens, who suffered a head injury Friday night against Jacksonville, returned to practice on Monday.
Most significant move: By cutting kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, the Lions ended their kicking competition by settling on rookie Nate Freese from Boston College. Detroit coach Jim Caldwell continually called this a tight competition. However, Freese always worked with the first team and was the first kicker out in all three preseason games. Tavecchio had the more consistent camp of the two players, but Detroit invested a seventh-round draft pick in Freese. He may be Detroit’s kicker for now and could end up as its kicker throughout the season, but another miss or two and the team might want to consider the free-agent wire, including recently released Jay Feely from Arizona.

Defensive backfield getting settled: Detroit released corners Jonte Green and Aaron Hester and sent safety DeJon Gomes to injured reserve on Monday, giving some clarity to their secondary. Green was a somewhat surprising cut since it seemed like the team might at least keep him around until Saturday’s final cuts, but Chris Greenwood clearly beat him out. The questions in the secondary is now how many corners and safeties the team takes and whether it looks at a sixth corner (likely Greenwood) or a fifth safety (either Isa Abdul-Quddus or Jerome Couplin). Those will be two situations to watch Thursday night.

What’s next: The Lions will probably search the waiver wire for secondary help, maybe take a look at a receiver or kicking options. Otherwise, they play Buffalo on Thursday and make final cuts Saturday.

Lions moves: Cut CB Jonte Green, CB Aaron Hester, FB Chad Abram, K Giorgio Tavecchio, P Drew Butler, QB James Franklin, OG Alex Bullard, OL A.J. Dalton, DT Gregory Hickman, RB Steven Miller, DE Kris Redding and WR Conner Vernon. Moved S DeJon Gomes to injured reserve. Moved WR TJ Jones to PUP/reserve.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions took in their final day of open-to-the-media preparation for their third preseason game against Jacksonville on Friday.
  • Safety DeJon Gomes was in attendance Wednesday but continued to sit out of practice as he recovers from an injury suffered against Oakland last Friday. He was absent from the viewing portion of practice Tuesday.
  • Receiver TJ Jones remains on the PUP list, so he is at practice but not practicing.
  • Otherwise, the Lions remain remarkably healthy so far this preseason.
  • One other note: Reggie Bush, according to a press release, is donating $2,500 per touchdown he scores this season to a Boys & Girls Club.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- On Tuesday, the Detroit Lions continued practicing outside for their next preseason game (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET) against Blake Bortles, Denard Robinson and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • Safety DeJon Gomes missed practice for the second consecutive day, but was in the locker room earlier Tuesday. He was spotted in the player's parking lot following the media portion of practice walking back into the building. Receiver TJ Jones continues not to practice as he is the only Lions player on the physically unable to perform list. Otherwise, every Detroit player was in attendance and practicing.
  • The Lions only do individual drills when the media is allowed to practice so it is tough to get a complete gauge, but LaAdrian Waddle was running with the first team Tuesday and Corey Hilliard the second team. This fits with their typical flip-flop on a daily basis at right tackle, continuing to battle there.
  • The Lions also released cornerback Drayton Florence, who was signed earlier during training camp.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions had their first regular-season type of practice Monday afternoon, with typical regular-season access for the media.
  • The Lions continue to be particularly healthy so far in the preseason. TJ Jones continues to sit out on the active physically unable to perform list. Joining him in not participating in practice was safety DeJon Gomes, who suffered a neck injury Friday night against Oakland when his head hit the helmet of an Oakland tight end.
  • How quick does this business churn? The Lions cut linebacker Justin Jackson, who wore No. 44, on Saturday and signed linebacker Shamari Benton. Benton's number with Detroit? No. 44 -- although there was no nameplate sewn on the back yet.
  • Detroit was in full pads on Monday -- a practice that is more of a typical Wednesday practice during the regular season.
  • As for Nick Fairley, who Jim Caldwell said was going to be with the second team, he was doing individual drills with the defensive linemen. Ndamukong Suh worked with C.J. Mosley and Fairley lined up with rookie Caraun Reid, who also received a lot of second team work Friday against the Raiders.
  • The Lions practice again Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET in what would simulate a Thursday, theoretically, during the regular season. A reminder now that the regular-season type practices have started, access rules are much shorter when it comes to the amount of practice the media can view.

Lions Camp Report: Day 14

August, 13, 2014
ALLEN PARK, Mich. – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Detroit Lions training camp:
  • Nick Fairley Watch – Day 3: The defensive tackle remained with the second unit throughout practice Wednesday, potentially signifying he won’t be used as a starter Friday night in Oakland. C.J. Mosley again ran with the first group and continued to play well alongside usual starter Ndamukong Suh. There were also points – much as in previous days – when Jason Jones moved from end inside to tackle with the first group. Still don’t expect things to stay this way permanently – Fairley is too talented to not be a starter at some point – but there is absolutely a message being sent here with each day Fairley doesn’t line up with the starters. He also, as he has done Monday and Tuesday, declined to talk with the media after practice to discuss the situation. Meanwhile, Mosley continues to go about his business every day during practice.
  • The other defensive lineman of note, Ezekiel Ansah, practiced again Wednesday but remains limited as he works his way into the rotation. At this point, Ansah is participating in everything other than team and heavy-contact portions of practice, but that should be expected. “His progression is going to be gradual. It’s not like you come off [the physically unable to perform list] and go right to work and get banged around in here,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “This game is a bit too strenuous for that. We’re going to bring him along and make certain he gets enough work, and as soon as doctors say he is able to go full-speed, all-out, we’re going to turn him loose.”
  • Another interesting caveat of the past two days has been at safety. James Ihedigbo and Glover Quin are running with the starters, but behind them, the pairing of Jerome Couplin and Isa Abdul-Quddus has been playing consistently with the No. 2 group, and Don Carey and DeJon Gomes have been with the No. 3 unit. More than likely, this is to give Couplin and Abdul-Quddus, both of whom were brought in during the offseason, a longer look as cut days start to loom. Abdul-Quddus played more snaps than any other defensive player Saturday night and had an interception. Couplin has been among the more impressive undrafted rookie free agents and has already gained the reputation as a player who can hit. He has rebounded well since being flattened by George Winn in practice a little under a week ago.
  • Speaking of Winn, if you’re looking for a complete surprise to make the roster, he is gaining some steam to do it. He briefly saw time as a blocker on what appeared to be the first-team kick return unit Wednesday and continues to run at a strong, hard pace. Other than his fumble against the Browns on Saturday, he has had a real strong camp and while he still has a lot of players to pass, he is at least giving himself a shot.
  • The most interesting hit of the day came during a team period, when safety James Ihedigbo stepped up on a route over the middle and broke up a pass intended for Kris Durham, timing the hit perfectly and sending Durham to the ground. Ihedigbo has been one of the harder hitters during camp and that is part of why the Lions brought him in to replace Louis Delmas in the offseason.
  • Lions vice chairman Bill Ford Jr. was at practice Wednesday. The team ownership, between Bill Ford Jr. and his mother, Martha Ford, have been at practice often during camp but have not spoken publicly with the media yet.
  • Caldwell took the ALS challenge laid down for him by Golden Tate after practice Wednesday. The video lives here.
  • The Lions are off Thursday to travel to Oakland, where they play the Raiders on Friday night. The Lions next practice Saturday in Allen Park, Michigan. It will be a closed practice.

Lions Camp Report: Day 10

August, 7, 2014
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Detroit Lions training camp:
  • With receiver Calvin Johnson and tight end Eric Ebron -- two of Detroit's biggest offensive pieces both physically and in terms of usage -- not practicing Thursday, there were more opportunities for others to try and stand out during practice. Joseph Fauria, who has been used with the first team often during the first two weeks of camp, saw a significant uptick in reps and appeared to fare fairly well. Fauria is going to make the team, but he needs to prove in this camp he has taken a step from last season, where he was primarily used in the red zone. If Ebron doesn't play Saturday, he'll have a large opportunity to do so before likely giving way to Jordan Thompson and Andrew Maxwell later in the game. Johnson, meanwhile, had an excused absence. With Johnson not at practice, Kris Durham appeared to receive more first-team reps than normal.
  • Speaking of Maxwell, the essentially unknown tight end had the play of practice in a rep with quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford fired the ball to Maxwell and it hit off of him. Then, it bounced off of safety Glover Quin and somehow right back into the hands of Maxwell, who made the catch and kept on running. It looked like one of those plays you'd see on an NFL Films highlight reel for years if it happened in a game instead of a preseason practice.
  • DeJon Gomes is making a strong push to win the fourth safety spot behind starters Glover Quin and James Ihedigbo and third safety/special teams leader Don Carey. Gomes has consistently backed up Ihedigbo, including when the starter briefly left practice after being kicked in the leg. Gomes has also shown up a lot on the first-team special teams units, which is critical for any depth player trying to make a roster.
  • As part of the veterans-getting-rest plan mentioned multiple times earlier in the week, rookie offensive lineman Travis Swanson has received a lot of time with the first-team offense, either at left guard spelling Rob Sims or at center, replacing Dominic Raiola. While there is no indication Sims or Raiola have anything to worry about when it comes to their jobs, this sort of experience can only provide value to Swanson both this season and down the road, when he eventually becomes a starter. Don't be surprised to see a lot of him Saturday night, perhaps in multiple positions.
  • The Ford family made another appearance at practice Thursday afternoon. While this is my first training camp covering the Lions, veteran reporter Dave Birkett noted the family has been out at camp more often than in the past few seasons. Of course, the team sort of changed ownership in the offseason after the death of William Clay Ford Sr. His wife, Martha, now is the owner of the team and she was at practice.
  • Darren Keyton missed another practice Thursday, as did Ezekiel Ansah, who continued doing side work. Also missing practice -- and not being in attendance at all -- was linebacker Cory Greenwood. Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Wednesday night that Greenwood has an excused absence. Both Ansah and receiver TJ Jones remain on the active PUP list.
  • The Lions have their final practice before the preseason opener at 8:30 a.m. Friday in Allen Park. It is not open to the public.
Over the next two weeks, we’ll be previewing the Detroit Lions entering training camp, which begins at the end of July. A reminder – unless a player is an entrenched starter, so much of what will happen over the next month or so will be entirely fluid as players attempt to make an NFL roster.

[+] EnlargeZach Sudfeld, Glover Quin
Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsSafety Glover Quin should provide stability for the Lions' secondary.
Position: Safety

Starter: SS – James Ihedigbo; FS – Glover Quin

Depth (in training camp): Don Carey, Isa Abdul-Quddus, DeJon Gomes, Jerome Couplin, Gabe Lynn.

Likely roster spots: 4.

What to expect in camp: For a position in the secondary, there is surprising stability at safety for the Lions along with some flexibility if and when injuries occur. Glover Quin will be the team’s free safety and one of the defense’s leaders. If necessary, the Lions could slide him over as well. James Ihedigbo, who the team brought in during the offseason to replace Louis Delmas, is a reliable, stable option as the starter opposite Quin.

Behind the two of them is where it becomes a little bit more interesting. Don Carey, who signed a three-year deal in the offseason, is the likely third safety and should provide some depth at nickel. He could theoretically back up both spots and will be a major factor in special teams.

Isa Abdul-Quddus and DeJon Gomes, while playing different safety spots, might be competing for one roster slot. Both have good special-teams skills, and this should be one of the more competitive battles in camp. The better special-teams player might end up as the one who makes the roster. There’s also a chance, depending on how the rest of the roster develops, both end up squeezing onto the squad but it will be difficult.

The undrafted rookies, specifically the extremely athletic Jerome Couplin, could end up with a practice squad spot if they show enough during camp, but neither are real threats at this point of making the 53-man roster.

What Detroit needs to see: It knows what it has in Quin, who played well despite an injury last season. The Lions also need a good chemistry to develop between Quin and Iheidgbo – similar to what Quin and Delmas had a season ago. There was a comfort with both of them until Delmas’ play started to slip in the second half of the season.

After that, the Lions need to see a competence with the backups – that shouldn’t be an issue because all have some level of experience starting games in the secondary in the past – and strong special-teams performances from all three. For a position group in the secondary with so many questions, safety might have one of the more talented roster groups from starters to backups on the roster.

The other key here is how the two starters mesh with the cornerbacks as the corner-safety tandem is just as important as the relationship between the two starting safeties. Detroit needs to see that grow throughout the preseason, especially since corner is the biggest question on the defense and might be the biggest overall concern on the roster.
The Lions, lying in wait as the last team to begin training camp...

In almost every job before this one, the term Bubble Watch meant one thing -- the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments. It was a rite of every March, charting who was in, who was out and what games really mattered.

Now in the NFL, the Bubble Watch takes on an entirely different meaning. Roster spots are the prize now, and the reality of a man's livelihood and ability to pay the bills hangs with every rep, every practice and every injury.

Entering camp, a lot of back-end jobs on the Detroit Lions are up for grabs. Here are five guys to pay attention to for spots on the end of the roster.

[+] EnlargeKris Durham and David Amerson
AP Photo/Joe RobbinsOffseason acquisitions at wide receiver have Kris Durham fighting for a roster spot.
Wide receiver Kris Durham: He appeared to be the last receiver kept by the Lions last season and turned into a starter by midseason after injuries. The signing of Golden Tate, re-signing of Kevin Ogletree, emergence of Jeremy Ross and drafting of Eric Ebron and TJ Jones once again leaves him fighting for a roster spot. His toughest competition will be Ogletree, who was signed midseason by Detroit and saw snaps behind Durham with the old regime. Unless injuries occur or another receiver surprises, it'll likely be Ogletree and Durham going after one slot.

Running back/fullback Montell Owens: The veteran reworked his deal and stayed with the Lions after a lost 2013 season due to injuries. Owens is an interesting case because he could theoretically play fullback or running back. If he is good enough to be one or both, he becomes a valuable roster asset along with a special teams standout who could bump Jed Collins or Mikel Leshoure from the roster. If he can't prove himself as a hybrid back, he might be out of a job.

Offensive guard Rodney Austin: A couple of weeks ago, Austin looked like he had the inside track to a roster spot as a swing center/guard with Travis Swanson, as the two would eventually replace Dominic Raiola and Rob Sims. Then the Lions signed veteran Garrett Reynolds, who was an NFL starter last season with Atlanta and was one of two Falcons' offensive linemen who played over 500 snaps to grade out positively according to Pro Football Focus. With the team invested in Swanson, Austin now has major competition for a roster spot.

Linebacker Travis Lewis: The Lions aren't dropping starters DeAndre Levy or Stephen Tulloch, and Kyle Van Noy is a valued rookie. Ashlee Palmer could end up beating out Van Noy initially for a starting spot, and Tahir Whitehead is a valuable special teams player. Depending on how many linebackers the Lions keep and their importance on special teams, Lewis could make the team or lose out to a cornerback, safety, receiver or perhaps a fellow linebacker such as Julian Stanford, who was signed after Lewis was suspended for four games to close out last season.

Safety DeJon Gomes: Much like Lewis, Gomes' roster spot might not be dependent as much on the other safeties as it is the special teams composition between corners, safeties, linebackers, receivers, and even running backs. Gomes is a good special teams player but might end up as the fifth safety behind starters Glover Quin and James Ihedigbo along with the versatile Don Carey and possibly Isa Abdul-Quddus. The competition for Gomes is likely Abdul-Quddus and then players such as Lewis and Stanford.

And now, a look around the Interwebs in search of Lions news:
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 defensive and special teams 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 defensive prediction are in parentheses. The offensive roster prediction lives here.


Starters: Ezekiel Ansah (open); Jason Jones (closed)

Backups (in projected depth-chart order for now): Devin Taylor, Darryl Tapp, Larry Webster, George Johnson, Kalonji Kashama.

Thoughts: Ansah didn’t practice this spring but he is a starter and should have a good year. Jones started to look healthier and will likely be pushed by Taylor throughout camp. Taylor may end up winning the job. Tapp is a good veteran and Webster is raw. Really raw.

Roster locks: Ansah, Jones, Taylor. (no changes)

If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Ansah, Jones, Taylor, Tapp, Webster. (Webster up from practice squad)


Starters: Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley.

Backups: C.J. Mosley, Caraun Reid, Andre Fluellen, Xavier Proctor, Jimmy Saddler-McQueen, Greg Hickman.

Thoughts: The Lions cut a lot of marginal veteran weight here during the spring and really somewhat set their defensive tackle depth chart. Suh and Fairley, at least in the spring, look like they could be the dominant pairing the Lions wanted the past few seasons. Both Jones and Taylor can play inside, so that gives the Lions flexibility.

Roster locks: Suh, Fairley, Mosley (no changes)

If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Suh, Fairley, Mosley, Reid, Proctor (practice squad) (Add Proctor to practice squad)


Starters: DeAndre Levy (weak side); Stephen Tulloch (middle); Kyle Van Noy (strong side)

Backups (in projected depth-chart order for now): Ashlee Palmer, Tahir Whitehead, Travis Lewis, Julian Stanford, Cory Greenwood, Brandon Hepburn, Justin Jackson.

Thoughts: The starters are pretty set here with the two veterans and the rookie, Van Noy. Palmer will end up playing his way onto the team, but watch for Whitehead here. He is a potential candidate to push for playing time or at least be a stable backup in the middle. The last spot here could be between Stanford and Lewis for a mainly special-teams spot. In this version, I cut both Stanford and Lewis in favor of a sixth cornerback, but could easily see that changing by the time the next roster projection is done before camp.

Roster locks: Levy, Tulloch, Van Noy (no changes)

If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Levy, Tulloch, Van Noy, Palmer, Whitehead, Hepburn (practice squad). (Jackson off practice squad, Palmer to the 53-man roster).


Starters: Darius Slay, Rashean Mathis (Chris Houston off team).

Backups (in projected depth-chart order for now): Bill Bentley, Cassius Vaughn, Chris Greenwood, Nevin Lawson, Jonte Green, Aaron Hester, Mohammed Seisay.

Thoughts: The release of Houston opens up this competition and a roster spot for another cornerback, potentially. Slay and Mathis are likely starters here with everyone else fighting for time and, other than Lawson, a roster spot. It’ll be one of the toughest battles of camp. This was one of the toughest cuts I had to make.

Roster locks: Slay, Mathis, Lawson. (Add Mathis, subtract Houston)

If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Slay, Mathis, Bentley, Vaughn, Lawson, Greenwood, Seisay (practice squad). (Houston, Green off; Seisay on practice squad).


Starters: Glover Quin, James Ihedigbo.

Backups (in projected depth-chart order for now): Don Carey, Isa Abdul-Quddus, DeJon Gomes, Jerome Couplin, Gabe Lynn.

Thoughts: The Lions are good with their top three safeties in Quin, Ihedigbo and Carey. Carey can play both nickel and corner in an emergency, which makes him imminently valuable for the Lions. Abdul-Quddus and Gomes might be competing for one roster spot and that should be an intense battle throughout camp. Between these two was the last cut I made. Initially had both making the roster until the end.

Roster locks: Quin, Ihedigbo, Carey. (no changes)

If picking the roster today, these guys would be on it: Quin, Ihedigbo, Carey, Abdul-Quddus, Couplin (practice squad)


Starter: Nate Freese

Backup: Giorgio Tavecchio

Thoughts: Still Freese's job to lose, but this might be a tougher competition than anticipated. Tavecchio has the stronger leg and if he can add consistency, he’ll win the gig. Otherwise, it’s Freese’s. Right now, it’s a toss-up.

Roster locks: None.

If picking the roster today, this guy would be on it: Freese.


Starter: Sam Martin

Backups: None.

Thoughts: None. It’s Martin.

Roster locks: Martin.

If picking the roster today, this guy would be on it: Martin.


Starter: Don Muhlbach.

Backups: Jordan Thompson.

Thoughts: None. Barring injury, Muhlbach will be the team’s long-snapper.

Roster locks: Muhlbach.

If picking the roster today, this guy would be on it: Muhlbach.
The Detroit Lions added their safety earlier this week, signing former Raven James Ihedigbo to a two-year deal.

Now the particulars have come out. The two-year deal is worth $3.15 million, with a $1.15 million cap hit in 2014 and a $2 million hit in 2015. The deal, though, could be an easily cuttable one in 2015 if the club so chooses.

In 2014, Ihedigbo will receive his full guarantee, which is a $750,000 signing bonus. Then his base salary is $725,000, and he has a $25,000 workout bonus as well.

In 2015, when his cap value is $2 million, his cash value is $1.625 million. That is broken down into a $1.1 million base salary, a $500,000 roster bonus and a $25,000 workout bonus. There are no guarantees in the contract for the 2015 season.

That has been the formula for most of Detroit's contracts this offseason: Decent-to-good signing bonuses with guarantees up front and then cuttable years on the back end of every deal lasting more than a season.

After adding Ihedigbo, the team has $7.61 million invested in five safeties: Glover Quin ($4.55 million), Ihedigbo, Isa Abdul-Quddus ($695,000), Dejon Gomes ($645,000) and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah ($570,000).
Recruiting has been deemed a completely inexact proposition seemingly forever. Guys who are highly rated don't pan out. Guys who were walk-ons turn into NFL players and, sometimes, stars.

So as teams across the country sign players Wednesday, here's a look back at where the Detroit Lions were ranked when they were high school seniors. For rankings from 2006 forward, the rankings used are ESPN's rankings. From 2002 to 2006, we used the rankings.

In some cases, no rankings were available. If something is not denoted as coming from another site, it is ESPN's ranking from that year.
What you'll see is most of Detroit's players were not highly rated players coming out of high school. Some had no ranking at all. Just goes to show how blue chip recruits in high school don't always turn into top-level college or NFL players.

This post covers the defense and special teams. This post from earlier took care of the offense.

Defensive linemen:
  • Suh
    Ndamukong Suh (2005): Rated as the No. 6 defensive tackle by and the No. 51 player overall. Signed with Nebraska.
  • Nick Fairley (2007): Rated as the No. 31 offensive tackle. Signed with Auburn but went to Copiah-Lincoln Community College for two years before heading to Auburn.
  • Willie Young (2004): Rated as the No. 14 defensive end by Signed with N.C. State and went to Hargrave Military Academy in 2004 before going to N.C. State in 2005. Was the No. 18 prep school player in the country in the Class of 2005.
  • Ziggy Ansah (2008): Not rated in ESPN's database. Not surprising considering he went to BYU from Ghana. He tried out for basketball, was on the track team in 2009 and started playing football in 2010. His story is documented here from colleague Ohm Youngmisuk.
  • Devin Taylor (2008): Rated as the No. 69 defensive end in his class and No. 21 player in South Carolina. Signed with South Carolina.
  • Jason Jones (2004): Not rated by, but was labeled a two-star prospect by the service. Signed with Eastern Michigan.
  • C.J. Mosley (2001): Not in Tom Lemming's Top 100 for 2001 but Missouri's website says Mosley was one of the top 55 defensive line prospects in the country in 2001. Signed with Missouri.
  • Andre Fluellen (2003): Rated as the No. 28 defensive tackle in the country and No. 22 player in Georgia his year. Signed with Florida State.
  • Israel Idonije (2000): Played football at Manitoba in Canada.
  • Xavier Proctor (2008): He was not rated by either service in 2008 and signed with North Carolina Central. Here's an interesting story about his past from the Baltimore Sun.
  • Jimmy Saddler-McQueen (2005 or 2006): No information is available on Saddler-McQueen. He signed with Texas A&M-Kingsville, where he played from 2006 to 2009.
  • Stephen Tulloch (2003): Rated as the No. 28 inside linebacker in his class and No. 51 player in Florida by Signed with N.C. State.
  • Levy
    DeAndre Levy (2005): Rated as the No. 49 outside linebacker in his class and the No. 4 player in Wisconsin by Signed with Wisconsin.
  • Ashlee Palmer (2006): Information on Palmer's recruitment is confusing. Was unranked in the Class of 2007 by ESPN. He was the No. 38 junior college player in the class of 2006 by as a safety. He initially signed with Nebraska out of high school, then signed with Washington out of Compton Community College before landing at Mississippi. There are some nuggets about Palmer's recruiting saga in this story.
  • Rocky McIntosh (2001): Rated as the No. 15 linebacker in the nation by SuperPrep according to the Miami (Fla.) website, where he signed.
  • Tahir Whitehead (2008): Not ranked as a safety out of high school. Signed with Temple.
  • Julian Stanford (2008): Not rated by either service in 2008. Signed with Wagner.
  • Brandon Hepburn (2008): Not rated by either service in 2008. Signed with Florida A&M.
  • Travis Lewis (2007): Rated as the No. 79 running back in the country by ESPN and No. 20 outside linebacker by Signed with Oklahoma.
  • Cory Greenwood (2006): Played football in Canada.
Defensive backs:
  • Delmas
    Louis Delmas (2005): Not rated by, but was a two-star recruit. Signed with Western Michigan.
  • Glover Quin (2006): Not rated by either service out of Southwest Mississippi Community College in 2006. More interesting -- both Rivals and ESPN had his name spelled at Glover Quinn with two "n's" in their bios.
  • Rashean Mathis (1998 or 1999): Mathis broke his leg his senior year at Englewood High School according to, costing him high Division I scholarships. He ended up at Bethune-Cookman. No recruiting information exists about him.
  • Chris Houston (2003): Rated as the No. 32 cornerback in his class and No. 66 player in Texas by Signed with Arkansas.
  • Darius Slay (2009): Rated as the No. 109 safety and No. 76 player in Georgia in 2009. Signed with Mississippi State but went to Itawamba Community College before re-signing with Mississippi State in 2011, when he was unrated.
  • Don Carey (2005): Not rated as a safety by in his class. Signed with Norfolk State.
  • Bill Bentley (2008): Went from Pahokee, Fla. to Dodge City Community College. Didn't play there, but signed with Louisiana. Was not rated by ESPN.
  • Jonte Green (2007): Not rated out of high school by either service. Signed with Benedict College before transferring to New Mexico State.
  • Chris Greenwood (2007): Not rated out of high school. Went to Division II Northwood and then Division III Albion.
  • DeJon Gomes (2007): Not rated out of high school. Attended City College of San Francisco and then Nebraska in 2009. He was not rated then, either.
  • John Wendling (2002): Not rated as a running back out of high school by Two-star recruit. Signed with Wyoming.
  • Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (2006): Not rated as a running back. Signed with Division II Indiana University of Pennsylvania and had an interesting recruiting story in Sports Illustrated.
One of the places Detroit needs to make the most improvement is in its secondary, and on Monday the Lions decided to add another man to their roster.

The team claimed defensive back Isa Abdul-Quddus off waivers from New Orleans, where he was released on Jan. 7 after being set to become a restricted free agent following the season.

Abdul-Quddus was primarily a special teams player for New Orleans but made four starts at free safety in his three years with the Saints. He made the team after going undrafted in 2011 out of Fordham.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder played in 42 games for New Orleans and had 74 tackles, nine passes defended and two interceptions.

Detroit has one safety as an unrestricted free agent, John Wendling. It returns five other safeties under contract from last season: Glover Quin, Louis Delmas, Don Carey, DeJon Gomes and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah.

Owusu-Ansah is an exclusive rights free agent. Carey signed an extension in December. Quin and Delmas were the starters last season, but Delmas is due to make $6,500,000 against the salary cap next season.
Each week, we’ll look at who or what might be rising or falling with the Detroit Lions.


RB Joique Bell: This, of course, depends on Bell’s health but if his ankle/foot injury allows him to play Sunday, he is starting to make a push for more snaps, perhaps at the expense of Reggie Bush. Before his injury against Pittsburgh, he was on pace for a 50-50 split with Bush against the Steelers. Sure, part of it might have had to do with the weather, but with Bush’s fumbling issues and drops issues, Bell might be able to steal some more carries and snaps.

WR Nate Burleson: The veteran appears much closer to playing this week and Detroit needs him. Before his broken forearm, he had been a nice third option for the Lions behind Calvin Johnson and Bush and if he is able to return to form, he’ll be an integral piece for the offense the rest of the season. That’s even more important because the Lions have fizzled when teams have been able to limit Johnson.

RG Larry Warford: Barring injury, it is rare for an offensive lineman to make Rising/Falling, but Warford is having an exceptional rookie season. He again played every snap Sunday, provided a key lead block on a long screen pass Sunday and also pulled well on the failed fake field goal. He has also shown the speed for a lineman to be able to be effective in the screen game and downfield blocking. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the only Lions lineman to not allow a quarterback sack, hit or hurry on Sunday.


RB Reggie Bush: He’s still a big playmaker for the Lions, but he has now lost two fumbles in the past three weeks and still has a 13 percent drop rate this season -- the highest of his career. While Bush won’t be out of any Detroit game plan, he needs to work on ball security for him to be as effective as the Lions need him to be.

WR Jeremy Ross: This is nothing Ross did, but Burleson’s return will likely cut down a lot of his snaps in the slot, especially with the comfortable emergence of Kris Durham as an outside receiver. Ross will probably still see a decent number of snaps, but he might not get as many opportunities as he has in the past two weeks.

S DeJon Gomes: Initially brought in as depth and a special teams player, Gomes was forced to play some safety after injuries Sunday. It did not go well in limited snaps. According to Pro Football Focus, Gomes was thrown at twice -- and receivers caught both passes for 19 yards. He was one of the primary safeties during Pittsburgh’s 97-yard game-winning touchdown drive.