Detroit Lions depth chart: Competition abounds at RB, DL and DB

Quandre Diggs' ability to play corner and safety gives the Lions' secondary options. Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

With free agency and the draft completed and OTAs and minicamps scheduled for the next month and a half, here's a closer look at the depth chart for the Detroit Lions:


Starters in bold

Quarterback (3): Matthew Stafford; Jake Rudock; Matt Cassel

Stafford is the starter. Rudock and Cassel will compete for the backup job, although all three could end up on the roster.

Running back (8): LeGarrette Blount; Kerryon Johnson; Theo Riddick; Ameer Abdullah; Zach Zenner; Dwayne Washington; Tion Green; Nick Bawden (FB).

Blount, Johnson and likely Riddick will be on the roster. The rest of the backs are competing for anywhere between one and three spots depending on roster makeup.

Wide receiver (8): Golden Tate; Marvin Jones Jr.; Kenny Golladay; TJ Jones; Jace Billingsley; Dontez Ford; Bradley Marquez; Andy Jones.

Tate, Marvin Jones and Golladay are the likely starters (in three-receiver sets) and TJ Jones has shown he can be a valuable piece who can play any receiver spot. Whether or not the Lions keep five receivers could be due to depth at other positions, but if they do, that spot is wide open.

Tight end (5): Luke Willson; Levine Toilolo; Michael Roberts; Brandon Barnes; Hakeem Valles

The Lions signed Willson and Toilolo in the offseason to replace Eric Ebron and Darren Fells. The key here is the growth of Roberts. If he takes the expected jump in his second year, he could end up playing a larger role than either Willson or Toilolo.

Tackle (5): Taylor Decker; Rick Wagner; Tyrell Crosby; Corey Robinson; Brian Mihalik

Decker, Wagner and Crosby are likely safe. Robinson has been continually hurt, which could be an issue as he battles for a possible No. 4 tackle spot with Mihalik and probably some undrafted free agents.

Guard (4): T.J. Lang; Graham Glasgow; Joe Dahl; Kenny Wiggins.

Lang is set. If Glasgow isn't at guard, then it could be rookie Frank Ragnow, who projects as a center. Dahl and the free-agent signing of Wiggins will push Glasgow and/or Ragnow.

Center (3): Ragnow; Wesley Johnson; Leo Koloamatangi

It's Ragnow's job to lose (or Glasgow's if they play him at center and Ragnow at guard). Johnson was signed this offseason and will compete for a backup job as long as Ragnow shows he's capable. Koloamatangi could be destined for another year on the practice squad.


Starters in bold

Cornerback (6): Darius Slay; DeShawn Shead; Nevin Lawson; Jamal Agnew; Teez Tabor; Raysean Pringle

It would seem like the first five corners are pretty locked into the roster. Quandre Diggs can play both safety and corner, but we'll list him at safety for now. If Agnew can show progress as a slot corner, that could offer the Lions more flexibility at the position.

Safety (8): Glover Quin; Quandre Diggs; Tavon Wilson; Miles Killebrew; Tracy Walker; Charles Washington; Stefan McClure; Rolan Milligan

The spot opposite Quin is up for grabs between Diggs, Wilson and Killebrew -- and it's possible one of Wilson and Killebrew could struggle to make the team with the franchise drafting Walker in the third round. This is the deepest spot on the team, even if Diggs ends up back at corner.

Linebacker (8): Devon Kennard; Christian Jones; Jarrad Davis; Jalen Reeves-Maybin; Steve Longa; Nick Bellore; Jonathan Freeny; Brandon Chubb

Tough position to figure out, although Kennard, Jones and Davis are locked in as starters. When the Lions go to a 3-4, which will happen, Reeves-Maybin or Freeny could win that spot with Longa as an outside shot. Longa and Bellore might end up competing for one special-teams role.

Defensive line (13): Ezekiel Ansah; A'Shawn Robinson; Sylvester Williams; Cornelius Washington; Kerry Hyder; Da'Shawn Hand; Jeremiah Ledbetter; Anthony Zettel; Jeremiah Valoaga; Alex Barrett; Cam Johnson; Toby Johnson; Christian Ringo

It's a deep group, and considering the Lions are running multiple fronts, the competition should be heavy. If there's a spot or two that is up for grabs, it's here. For a unit without much pass-rush history, there's a lot of depth -- and a lot of questions. Trading Spence last week opened up some room and leads to even more questions about who can be a dependable player within the unit.


Punter (1): Sam Martin

The Lions will bring in a camp leg, but it's Martin's job.

Kicker (1): Matt Prater

See the Martin explanation.

Long-snapper (1): Don Muhlbach

He's the longest-tenured player on the Lions roster and isn't going anywhere.

Kick returner (3): Jamal Agnew; Ameer Abdullah; TJ Jones

This role should be Agnew's after a productive rookie year. Abdullah, if he's on the roster as a backup, could push him.

Punt returner (1): Jamal Agnew

An All-Pro last year, the second-year pro should still have the job.