The roster it out and, for at least the next few hours, the Detroit Lions have an idea of what they will be working with heading into the regular season.
There will be changes to this team, especially on the back end of it, as waiver claims become official and as Kyle Van Noy's injury status is resolved, but using what occurred Saturday, here are some interesting things about this roster.
Keeping eight offensive linemen: This seems like it will eventually change, although with a 10-man practice squad, Detroit can load up there for depth during the week. Thought the Lions would keep one of Garrett Reynolds or Rodney Austin and send Darren Keyton to the practice squad, but the Lions cut all three. If Austin and Keyton clear waivers, they could pop back up on the practice squad. Cornelius Lucas over Michael Williams was a coin flip, but if he isn’t claimed by tomorrow, Williams will likely be on the practice squad.
Van Noy's situation: If the Lions do move their rookie linebacker to injured reserve/designated to return Tuesday, then it’ll open up a roster spot. Depending what the free-agent pool looks like at that point, it is possible the team brings veteran Darryl Tapp back as a 10th defensive lineman who can help on special teams. This is also a spot that could turn into a ninth offensive lineman or someone they like from the wire.
2011 draft is officially a failure: When the Lions cut Mikel Leshoure, that left only inconsistent first-round defensive tackle Nick Fairley among the team’s 2011 draft class. Considering none of those players would be in their second contracts yet, that is a failed draft for general manager Martin Mayhew. Leshoure, a second-round pick, is now hoping to land on a new team. Another second-rounder, Titus Young, is in jail. Fifth-rounder Doug Hogue and seventh-rounder Johnny Culbreath are not in the league. Considering how important the draft is to team-building, this is a major failure for Mayhew.
Undrafted players show up again: Last season, the Lions found tight end Joseph Fauria and right tackle LaAdrian Waddle in the undrafted free-agent pool. Both ended up starting games in 2013 and made the 2014 roster. This season, two more undrafted free agents made the initial roster: offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas and safety Jerome Couplin. Lucas seemed like he’d be on the roster from the start, although he faced a very difficult challenge from Williams. Couplin had a good camp and when DeJon Gomes and Don Carey sat with injuries it opened up snaps for Couplin to play.
No real surprises: Other than Kris Durham’s release, there were no real stunning decisions. The quarterback situation was always going to be whether the Lions wanted two or three at the position. Austin had a poor camp. George Winn was on the fringe of the roster throughout. What could be curious is who the Lions would cut if there are some players they would be interested in nabbing in the next few hours.
Roster breakdown: Three quarterbacks, three running backs, two fullbacks, six wide receivers, three tight ends, eight offensive linemen, nine defensive linemen, six linebackers (including Van Noy), five cornerbacks, five safeties, one kicker and one punter (Don Muhlbach).