Lions could have nine new starters, including Jarrad Davis, Kerry Hyder

With free agency and the draft in the rearview mirror and organized team activities and minicamps in full swing, here's a starting lineup projection for the Detroit Lions:

QB: Matthew Stafford: He's coming off one of the best seasons of his career, is very comfortable in Jim Bob Cooter's offense and could end up as the NFL's highest-paid player.

RB: Ameer Abdullah: General manager Bob Quinn said he was the starter after the draft Saturday, but seeing how he handles spring workouts after missing almost all of the past season with an injured foot will be critical.

WR: Marvin Jones: He set a career high in yards last season (930) but was disappointed with the way it happened, as he disappeared from the offense for stretches of last season.

LT: Taylor Decker: He'll enter his second season with a lot of expectations after a strong rookie season in which he played every snap.

LG: Graham Glasgow: He'll be in a competition with Joe Dahl and Laken Tomlinson, but he'll be tough to beat if he improves on his rookie season.

C: Travis Swanson: He began to have dominant stretches before a concussion ended his season. He's entering a contract year as the team’s longest-tenured offensive lineman.

RG: T.J. Lang: He isn't expected to participate this spring as he rehabs from offseason hip surgery.

RT: Rick Wagner: One of the Lions' biggest offseason acquisitions, he'll need to use this time to familiarize himself with a new line.

TE: Eric Ebron: The Lions picked up his fifth-year option, and he has improved his catches and yards every year of his career. He could be on the verge of a breakout season.

WR: Golden Tate: The Lions' leading receiver last season, he's one of the more dynamic short-to-intermediate route receivers in the league.

WR: Kenny Golladay: The third-round pick could be Detroit's No. 3 receiver and an outside red zone threat early in his career.


DE: Ezekiel Ansah: He's expected to be healthy and more in form as one of the top pass-rushers in the league after injuries hampered him throughout 2016 and held him to two sacks.

DT: Haloti Ngata: The veteran started to play at a high level toward the middle of last season, when he started to plug up the middle of offenses again.

DT: A'Shawn Robinson: He was a rotational player last season but has the pass-rush skills and strength to become a strong piece to the interior of the defensive line this season.

DE: Kerry Hyder: This position seems less than set, but Hyder gets the nod for now over Cornelius Washington and others. This will be an open competition.

LB: Antwione Williams: This is more of a placeholder for now, as it'll be an open competition at every linebacker spot. If Paul Worrilow and Jarrad Davis win the other linebacker jobs, this could end up being Tahir Whitehead too.

MLB: Jarrad Davis: This is his more natural position and the spot Quinn envisions for him in the future -- a future that could start right away.

LB: Tahir Whitehead: This should be an interesting competition between Whitehead, Worrilow and fourth-round pick Jalen Reeves-Maybin -- one that should last into training camp.

CB: Darius Slay: One of the top cornerbacks in the game, the next step for him is forcing more turnovers.

FS: Glover Quin: A true free safety, he's a reliable back line of the defense and a reason Detroit doesn't give up many big plays.

SS: Tavon Wilson: It's Wilson's job to lose, but bet on Miles Killebrew to give him a lot of competition for the spot.

CB: Nevin Lawson: Rookie corners usually struggle a bit, but Lawson is going to get pressure for his spot from Teez Tabor, D.J. Hayden and Johnson Bademosi.


K: Matt Prater: A Pro Bowler last year, he's one of the most clutch kickers in the NFL.

P: Sam Martin: One of the best punters in the NFL, he's pushing for his first Pro Bowl berth this season.

KR: Dwayne Washington: This is a wide-open competition among a multitude of candidates, including TJ Jones, Jace Billingsley, Jamal Agnew and possibly Abdullah.

PR: Jamal Agnew: This is just a guess because there's no real separation of candidates yet -- but figure that the kick return and punt return candidates remain the same.