Some changes updating Lions' 53-man roster projection

The all-important third Detroit Lions preseason game is over. First cuts down to 75 players are likely to come any time between now and the 4 p.m. deadline Tuesday for moves to be made.

After seeing who received an extended look and who didn't, here's a revised prediction of the initial 53-man roster that will be set a week from Saturday.

Injuries and having tough cuts at multiple positions makes this a difficult process. And just a note -- when you're discussing cuts, realize these are men being fired from jobs, so I'd ask for empathy and try to keep the discussion performance-based.

Quarterback (2): Matthew Stafford, Dan Orlovsky (cut: Kellen Moore, Garrett Gilbert)

Position thoughts: Toughest call to make, because the Lions like having three quarterbacks. But injuries could make that a luxury instead of a necessity, so Moore ends up on the outside right now. If a player heads to injured reserve/designated to return (more on that below) then Moore would likely be on the team.

Running backs (5): Joique Bell, Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner, George Winn (cut: Desmond Martin)

Position thoughts: The top three are locks. Winn still offers more on special teams but Zenner is showing NFL-level competence as a rusher/receiver. I'm sticking with five guys here for now but could see Detroit cutting either Zenner or Winn. The difference is Winn probably is easier to slide through waivers.

Fullback (1): Michael Burton (cut: Emil Igwenagu)

Position thoughts: This is becoming a close race, but the Lions invested in Burton and he hasn't done anything to lose the gig.

Wide receiver (5): Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Corey Fuller, Jeremy Ross, Lance Moore. (cut: TJ Jones, Greg Salas, Ryan Broyles, Andrew Peacock, Vernon Johnson)

Position thoughts: I won't pretend -- I still am unsure of what happens here beyond Calvin Johnson, Tate and Fuller. Right now Moore and Ross take the last two spots because of special teams (Ross) and experience (Moore). But I could see the Lions keeping Salas or Jones as well. Broyles appears to be on the wrong side of making the squad in a logjam that still hasn't cleared up.

Tight end (3): Eric Ebron, Brandon Pettigrew, Joseph Fauria. (IR: Jordan Thompson. Cut: Andrew Maxwell, Casey Pierce, Deon Butler).

Position thoughts: This feels set. Pierce or Maxwell could end up on the practice squad.

Offensive tackle (4): Riley Reiff, LaAdrian Waddle, Cornelius Lucas, Corey Robinson. (cut: Xavier Proctor).

Position thoughts: Trading Michael Williams means Robinson makes the team. But the No. 4 tackle spot is not strong.

Interior linemen (4): Larry Warford, Travis Swanson, Manny Ramirez, Laken Tomlinson. (IR: Darren Keyton. cut: Taylor Boggs, Al Bond, Torrian Wilson, Braxston Cave, Joe Madsen)

Position thoughts: Boggs is the question here. If Warford isn't healthy for Week 1, he might make the team at the expense of a running back, receiver or defensive lineman. Otherwise everything here fits.

Defensive end (5): Ezekiel Ansah, Jason Jones, Darryl Tapp, Devin Taylor, Phillip Hunt. (cut: Larry Webster, Kerry Hyder)

Position thoughts: The Lions might keep Webster, but he isn't ready to contribute where Hunt continues to look sharp. Plus, he's a pass-rusher in a position group where Jones and Tapp are primarily run-stoppers and Taylor is not a pure edge guy. So there's a role for Hunt. It might depend whether the Lions think they can get Webster through waivers. If so, they might chance it. It'll be something to watch next weekend. It would be different for the Lions to give up on a fourth-rounder so quick, but the talent level is higher now for Detroit than in prior years.

Defensive tackles (5): Haloti Ngata, Tyrunn Walker, Caraun Reid, Gabe Wright, Jermelle Cudjo (cut: Corey Wootton, Roy Philon, Jerel Worthy).

Position thoughts: The top four are set. The question is whether the team keeps Cudjo. He's played well and started ahead of Wright on Friday. If Ngata and/or Reid aren't ready for the opener, Cudjo likely makes the team. Otherwise, he lives squarely on the roster bubble.

Linebacker (6): DeAndre Levy, Stephen Tulloch, Tahir Whitehead, Kyle Van Noy, Josh Bynes, Travis Lewis. (IR: Kevin Snyder. Cut: Brandon Copeland, Julian Stanford, Justin Cherocci).

Position thoughts: Van Noy makes this murky. If the Lions sent him to either injured reserve, it could open a spot for Moore, Boggs or Copeland. The Lions took a long look Friday at Lewis and he did fine against the run, struggling in coverage. But Lewis and Bynes are core special teams players. Keep an eye on Van Noy's health.

Cornerback (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 feels pretty locked in, especially if Carter plays in the fourth preseason game.

Safety (4): Glover Quin, James Ihedigbo, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Don Carey. (cut: Isaiah Johnson, Nate Ness, Brian Suite)

Position thoughts: Johnson hasn't done enough to unseat Carey but could be a practice squad guy.

Specialists (3): Matt Prater (kicker), Sam Martin (punter), Don Muhlbach (snapper). (cut: Kyle Brindza)

Position thoughts: Brindza has done well and could end up kicking in the NFL, but not for the Lions right now. A year ago, he probably beats Nate Freese and Giorgio Tavecchio. Like Drew Butler in camp last season with the Lions, he has good tape to land a role somewhere -- or back with Detroit at some point.