Training camp and the preseason have come and gone. The Detroit Lions, like all other NFL teams, have until 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, August 30 to trim the roster from the current 80 to 53.
Sunday’s loss in Pittsburgh had an impact on a few predictions, changes from the last set of predictions.
Note that this is a “what do I think will happen” projection, not a “what would I do” scenario…
Quarterback – 2
Starter – Jared Goff
Reserve – David Blau
I said on the last episode of the Detroit Lions Podcast that the No. 2 job was losing Tim Boyle. And then Pittsburgh happened. He lost it.
Running back – 5
Starter – D’Andre Swift
Reserves – Jamaal Williams, Craig Reynolds, Justin Jackson, Godwin Igwebuike
Jackson has played on the roster in the last week, but I don’t think it’s costing Igwebuike his roster spot. Igwebuike is the Lions’ main player, although that status is penciled in at No. 1 right now.
Tight end – 4
(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Starter – TJ Hockenson
Reserves – Brock Wright, James Mitchell, Shane Zylstra
No change here from last week. Zylstra didn’t catch any of his three targets in Sunday’s game, but two were completely out of sorts through no fault of his own. He’s the better blocking option than Devin Funchess and more reliable health-wise – and I say that fully knowing he suffered a major leg injury last year.
Wide receiver – 6
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Starts – DJ Chark, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds
Reserves – Kalif Raymond, Trinity Benson, Quintez Cephus
No change here either, and Cephus certainly helped stabilize it, catching Detroit’s lone TD on Sunday and doing so without injury. I still think Benson gets the nod over preseason hero Tom Kennedy for special teams reasons. I expect Maurice Alexander to be on another NFL roster quickly, but there is no room here.
Offensive line – 8
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Starts – Taylor Decker, Jonah Jackson, Frank Ragnow, Halapulivati Vaitai, Penny Sewell
Reserves – Evan Brown (IOL), Matt Nelson (T), Tommy Kraemer (IOL)
I had Logan Stenberg making the roster as the ninth OL for quite some time, based on his fantastic play over the past two weeks. But it’s pretty hard to burn a spot that would be weekly inactive for a player who has had two good weeks in three years. Here’s hoping they can turn Stenberg into an asset instead of cutting him entirely.
Defensive tackles – 5
Starts – Michael Brockers, Alim McNeill
Reserves – Isaiah Buggs, Demetrius Taylor, Levi Onwuzurike*
I decided to separate the DL spots into their own entities. Taylor has earned a spot on the 53-man roster – almost certainly as the No. 53 player.
Onwuzurike gets the asterisk because he appears to be placed on injured reserve after making the roster. That way he is out – potentially – for just four games. Placing him on IR before the cuts would end his season.
That leaves Jashon Cornell out, another change from last time. My own take is that Cornell arrived too early in camp and hasn’t proven himself to be better than Taylor or Buggs. He’s a guy the Lions can immediately re-sign when Onwuzurike (or someone else) goes on IR.
Defensive end – 5
Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Starts – Aidan Hutchinson, Charles Harris
Reserves – Austin Bryant, John Cominsky, Julian Okwara
Coach Dan Campbell’s recent positive injury prognosis on Okwara was a pretty sure sign that the team intends to keep him.
Cominsky is improving by the week and can hit inside as well. So does Hutchinson for that matter. Bryant has been the Lions’ best player in the preseason regardless of position and has consistently shown it in practice as well.
Line Supporters – 4
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Starts – Alex Anzalone, Malcolm Rodriguez
Reserves – Chris Board, Derrick Barnes
Adding an extra RB and OL means the cuts have to come from somewhere. Those four LBs are about as sure as one can be for a spot. Anthony Pittman’s cut comes with the tacit knowledge that he will return to the practice squad and could be an easy promotion within the company.
Corner – 7
(AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)
Starts – Amani Oruwariye, Jeff Okudah, AJ Parker
Reserves – Jerry Jacobs*, Will Harris, Mike Hughes, Bobby Price
Jacobs gets an asterisk due to his current status on the active/PUP list. The Lions could move him to the reserve/PUP list and free up an extra spot if they don’t think he’s needed before Week 5. He’s not in danger of being cut.
Hughes played well in Pittsburgh and took too many high-level reps to be in real danger. Cutting Chase Lucas in the seventh round is tough, but he’s a 25-year-old rookie who can only play slot and hasn’t proven to be reliable enough during camp.
Insurance – 4
(AP Photo/Matt Durisko)
Starts – Tracy Walker, DeShon Elliott
Reserves – Kerby Joseph, Ifeatu Melifonwu
No change here. Will Harris’ ability to play safety in a pinch means the team can only carry four. A healthy CJ Moore would be more difficult, but his injury situation works in the Lions’ favor — he’s unlikely to draw serious interest from other teams and could slide right onto the practice squad.
If they keep five, it should be interpreted as more concern about Melifonwu’s injury/durability than the team has let on thus far. JuJu Hughes has a valid claim at this point.
Experts – 3
(AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)
Long lamp – Scott Daly
Ponder – Jack Fox
Kicker – Austin Seibert
No change here. Seibert handled all the kicking duties on Sunday and that is the best sign that the kicking job is up to Riley Patterson.
This story originally appeared on Lions Wire