Monday, September 1, 2014
Breaking down the Lions' 53-man roster
By Michael Rothstein
Here’s a look at the Detroit Lions roster as of Monday morning. The team practices later on Monday, so most, if not all, of these guys should be there.
Thoughts: If I’m Orlovsky, I’m at least a little concerned Moore is still around, from a competitive standpoint. Moore outplayed Orlovsky during the preseason and if the Lions kept him around, he could end up at least pushing Orlovsky for the No. 2 spot. Either way, between Orlovsky and Moore, Stafford has two smart quarterbacks to lean on when it comes to other eyes for in-game adjustments.
RUNNING BACK (3):
Thoughts: A practice squad running back is almost certainly coming, especially since all three backs have had some sort of injury issues. That would be the biggest argument for Detroit keeping a fourth back, and the waiver wire could still come into play here. But otherwise, a strong position group.
Thoughts: Owens can play running back if needed as a hybrid. Collins is a true fullback. Owens is a special-teams ace, so he’s not going anywhere and part of the reason the team kept two fullbacks.
WIDE RECEIVER (6):
Thoughts: Will be interested to hear what Jim Caldwell says about why they kept who they kept. The Lions have height and speed in their receiving corps now. Fuller can run, as can Ogletree, and both can be deep threats off the bench. Andrew Peacock is a practice squad guy here and could be a slot receiver down the road.
TIGHT END (3):
Thoughts: These were always going to be the three tight ends the team kept. No surprises here.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE (4):
Thoughts: The first three players were always going to be on the roster. Lucas was given a tough challenge by Michael Williams, who is on the practice squad as he continues to learn the position. The Lions are hoping Lucas can turn into what Waddle became last season.
INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINE (4):
Thoughts: This shows a ton of confidence in Swanson to play either guard or center if there is an injury. Of course, the Lions didn’t have a ton of other options. Developmental lineman Rodney Austin had a bad camp in his third season, and the Lions chose to look elsewhere other than Garrett Reynolds. This is a position where Detroit could make a move early on to give some more stability.
DEFENSIVE END (5):
Thoughts: After the midpoint in camp, these five were going to be on the roster, as Johnson turned into the epitome of play your way onto the team. Darryl Tapp was cut but could end up back in Detroit sooner than later. The Lions have to like their rush options here with Ansah, Johnson and Taylor, but could be stronger against the run.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE (4):
Thoughts: All four of these guys are going to be in the team’s tackle rotation, and you can add Jones in here during nickel situations. Strong group, especially if Fairley ends up playing better.
Thoughts: This is going to be five for the short term at least as Van Noy recovers from abdominal surgery (and might be headed to short-term IR). Whitehead was one of the surprises of camp and is on track to start Monday night against the Giants. Palmer can play both outside positions, Lewis is in the middle and a special-teams stalwart.
Thoughts: Still not a strong position group. If Mathis or Slay get hurt, watch out, as Bentley is more of a nickel/slot corner and Lawson is not ready for the big time yet. That leaves Vaughn, who is good as a depth cornerback. This is an area in which the Lions could still use an upgrade, although none of those upgrades was among the other players in camp.
Thoughts: Like George Johnson, Abdul-Quddus and Couplin played their way onto the Lions. This is a good, not great, group of safeties, but if Couplin improves rapidly, he could really make a strong push to play sooner than later. He has a future and at worst will be a special-teams contributor.
Thoughts: I’ve got none. Lions are set here.