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Monday, August 11, 2014
Detroit Lions' projected roster

By Michael Rothstein

Examining the Detroit Lions' roster. There have been some changes to last week's projection.

QUARTERBACKS (2)
Orlovsky remains the No. 2 quarterback and despite a rough practice in Ford Field on Wednesday and a shaky debut Saturday, he'll maintain the backup job for now over Kellen Moore. Something to watch here will be if Moore receives more time with the No. 2 group over the next few weeks. He has a long way to go to overtake Orlovsky, but a couple more performances like Saturday night, where he went 11 of 13 and threw the game-winning touchdown and he might end up with a roster spot.

RUNNING BACKS (6)

Bush, Bell and Riddick are likely locks. Owens has special teams value and has been running with the first team a good amount during camp. It is entirely possible Detroit only keeps five backs here and then it becomes an interesting equation. If Owens is enough of a runner, they could keep both Owens and Collins and cut the former second round pick. Or, they have to make a decision between Collins and Owens. Right now, no decision needs to be made as both make the roster. For now. The wild card here is George Winn. Right now he isn't close to a roster spot, but could be locking up a place on the practice squad.

WIDE RECEIVER (6)

TJ Jones remains on the active PUP list and with each passing day, it seems less likely he'll be on the 53-man roster at the end of August. In his place, I went with Ryan Broyles, who played fairly well Saturday night with three catches for 27 yards. Durham, Broyles and Corey Fuller are the main competitors for what feels like two spots right now. Fuller caught a game-winning 21-yard touchdown and if he puts together another strong performance could force his way on the roster. Andrew Peacock, who had four catches for 43 yards against Cleveland, is a strong practice squad candidate.

TIGHT END (3)

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

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

Nothing changes here for now, although watch Garrett Reynolds to see if he pushes Austin for that backup interior lineman slot. Austin appears to be decently ahead as of now but there is still three weeks left. Alex Bullard, who has line flexibility, remains a potential candidate for the practice squad.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

It feels like eight of these nine slots are set with one -- right now belonging to Darryl Tapp -- in question. At this point, it feels like a competition between Tapp and George Johnson for that spot.

LINEBACKER (5)

Nothing has changed here. Barring injury, these five linebackers are on the roster. If the Lions chose to keep six, Travis Lewis would have the inside path to the slot, mostly because of his special teams play. He has been lining up with the first group on special teams for most of camp and is a valuable contributor there.

CORNERBACK (6)

This is the toughest group to predict and one that became harder after the Lions signed Drayton Florence last week. Florence didn't play Saturday night, so it is tough to tell where he'll fit into the depth chart at this point. Jonte Green remains on the final roster despite the lack of snaps Saturday night due to his performance in camp during the day. That said, the Lions clearly aren't thrilled with their corner depth at this point. Mohammed Seisay remains a practice squad candidate. This is a situation where if no one impresses, the Lions could keep five corners to start the year.

SAFETY (4)

The theoretical coin flip went the other direction this week, as Gomes has nudged ahead of Isa Abdul-Quddus, who had a strong showing Saturday night. Gomes has the edge on special teams as of now and lined up more with the second unit throughout camp, so he gets the nod for now. There is easily a scenario where both Gomes and Abdul-Quddus end up making the roster, too. A lot to shake out here still.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Freese continues to run with the first team, but Jim Caldwell stressed data and results as part of how he'll judge the kicking competition. Freese made both his field goals against Cleveland and Tavecchio made his one kick as well -- a long extra point that gave the Lions a 13-12 win. That appeared more pressure-packed than either one of Freese's first half field goals from the same distance. The competition remains extremely close, though, and could flip by the day.