Two games are done and impressions of the Detroit Lions roster are really starting to take shape.
While first cuts are over a week away and the initial 53-man roster is still over two weeks from being finalized, let’s take another shot at a 53-man roster projection.
Quarterbacks (3): Matthew Stafford, Dan Orlovsky, Kellen Moore (cut: Garrett Gilbert)
Position thoughts: No changes here. This is pretty much set, likely in the order above. Moore is probably on the roster, but he has not had a strong preseason.
Running backs (5): Joique Bell, Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, George Winn, Zach Zenner. (Cut: Desmond Martin)
Position thoughts: This is still tough to call. Figure the Lions will likely keep four backs, but if Zenner can show special teams competence, perhaps the team would keep five backs and five receivers. For now I’m doing this, but might change it in a week.
Fullback (1): Michael Burton (cut: Emil Igwenagu)
Position thoughts: Igwenagu has gotten some first-team run, but Burton’s the guy.
Wide receiver (5): Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Corey Fuller, Jeremy Ross, Lance Moore. (cut: Ryan Broyles, TJ Jones, Andrew Peacock, Greg Salas, Vernon Johnson, Jarred Haggins)
Position thoughts: Tough to call still, but those five have separated themselves at this point. Jones is likely the next guy out (and on the practice squad if he clears waivers) but could make a push.
Tight end (3): Eric Ebron, Brandon Pettigrew, Joseph Fauria (cut: Jordan Thompson, Casey Pierce, Andrew Maxwell)
Position thoughts: Barring injury, this is the group.
Offensive tackles (4): Riley Reiff, LaAdrian Waddle, Cornelius Lucas, Michael Williams. (cut: Corey Robinson, Xavier Proctor)
Position thoughts: No changes and both cut guys could end up on the practice squad.
Interior linemen (4): Larry Warford, Travis Swanson, Manny Ramirez, Laken Tomlinson. (cut: Taylor Boggs, Al Bond, Torrian Wilson, Braxston Cave. IR: Darren Keyton).
Position thoughts: Boggs is the toughest cut here because he continually performs well. If Warford's injury is of any concern, the Lions find room for Boggs on the roster at the expense of Winn or Zenner.
Defensive ends (5): Ezekiel Ansah, Jason Jones, Darryl Tapp, Devin Taylor, Larry Webster. (cut: Phillip Hunt, Kerry Hyder).
Position thoughts: Keeping Webster on the 53-man roster, from a readiness perspective, was tough. The other four are pretty much locked in.
Defensive tackles (5): Haloti Ngata, Tyrunn Walker, Caraun Reid, Gabe Wright, Jermelle Cudjo. (cut: Corey Wootton, Roy Philon, Jerel Worthy)
Position thoughts: This could change, especially if there are injuries at other positions, but Cudjo is the epitome of a guy who played his way onto the roster. To keep him, I cut a linebacker I might have kept otherwise, but that’s dependent on both Winn and Zenner being capable special teamers. If they aren’t, this could change as well. A lot of rotation for those final 4-5 slots.
Linebackers (5): DeAndre Levy, Stephen Tulloch, Tahir Whitehead, Kyle Van Noy, Josh Bynes. (cut: Brandon Copeland, Travis Lewis, Kevin Snyder, Julian Stanford)
Position thoughts: This was a tough call as I initially had versions with either Copeland or Lewis on the roster. As mentioned above, the final four-to-five slots are very fluid right now and could be dependent on special teams.
Cornerbacks (6): Rashean Mathis, Darius Slay, Alex Carter, Quandre Diggs, Josh Wilson, Nevin Lawson. (cut: Chris Owens, Crezdon Butler, R.J. Stanford, Jocquel Skinner).
Position thoughts: This is pretty set, although if Carter isn’t ready to go it could open a corner spot -- or a slot for one of the linebackers above. Carter’s situation, for many reasons, is worth paying attention to the next two weeks.
Safeties (4): Glover Quin, James Ihedigbo, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Don Carey. (cut: Taylor Mays, Nate Ness, Isaiah Johnson, Brian Suite).
Position thoughts: The first three are set. Carey is a little bit up in the air, but he is a strong special teams player. None of the other safeties have done enough, in my eyes, to replace the veteran who has position flexibility and a defined team role.
Specialists (3): Matt Prater, Sam Martin, Don Muhlbach. (cut: Kyle Brindza).
Position thoughts: No questions here.