Evaluating the Lions' 53-Man Roster

With the final round of cuts and what appears to be all of the waiver claims out of the way, it's time to take a look at what the Lions' 53-man roster looks like.  Before I get to that, though, let's examine who has been cut in the last few days to help get the roster down to 53 players.

Cut on Saturday:

QB Brooks Bollinger - No surprise here.  He looked good against Buffalo, but the Lions brought him in for one game and one game only.
RB Tristan Davis - He showed his talent off against the Bills but didn't do enough to make the team.  He is on the practice squad, though.
RB Aveion Cason - He's finally gone!
WR Keary Colbert - He's also finally gone!
WR Dane Looker - I thought he would make the team, but Adam Jennings got the nod over him.
WR John Standeford - Jennings also got the nod over Standeford, who probably was behind Looker anyway.
TE Carson Butler - He ended up on the practice squad.
TE Dan Gronkowski - He also ended up on the practice squad.
OT Lydon Murtha - And he made the practice squad as well.
OG Milford Brown - No surprise here.
C Dan Gerberry - No surprise here, either.
DE Sean Conover - Another expected move.
DT Shaun Smith - This was a bit surprising, though we probably should have seen it coming.  The coaches probably weren't a fan of his attitude and decided to go with younger players instead.
DT Chuck Darby - This was surprising but expected at the same time, if that makes any sense.  Darby also got squeezed out because the coaches decided to go with younger players.
LB Rufus Alexander - No big surprise.
LB Zack Follett - I expected him to make the team for his special teams abilities alone, but the coaches obviously wanted more than that.  He thankfully ended up joining the practice squad.
LB Spenser Smith - Not surprising.
CB Ramzee Robinson - The former Mr. Irrelevant was beat out by Cletis Gordon, who didn't stay on the team for long after this, as you will see in a second.
S Calvin Lowry - This was expected.
S Stuart Schweigert - I was hoping he would make the team, but his days in Detroit were numbered as soon as Ko Simpson was traded to the Lions.

CB Chris Roberson was put on the injured reserve on Saturday after suffering an injury in the Bills game.

These weren't the only players released on the weekend, as the following players were cut or traded on Sunday.

QB Kevin O'Connell - The Lions dealt him to the Jets, finally confirming everyone's suspicion that he was brought in as trade bait more than anything else.
WR Adam Jennings - He lost his spot on the roster when the Lions claimed Yamon Figurs, a receiver/returner that used to play for the Ravens.
DE Ikaika Alama-Francis - He was released when the Lions claimed Copeland Bryan, a former Bills defensive end.
CB Cletis Gordon - Just like the two above, he lost his spot to a waiver claim, former Seahawk Kevin Hobbs.

The Lions also claimed CB Marcus McCauley, a former Viking.

Now that that's out of the way, let's take a look at what the roster looks like after all of these moves.

Quarterback: Matthew Stafford, Daunte Culpepper, Drew Stanton

The fact that the Lions only kept three quarterbacks when all was said and done leads me to believe that Stanton isn't too seriously injured, or at the very least Detroit is being patient with him this time around.

Running Back: Kevin Smith, Maurice Morris, Aaron Brown

Brown played his way on to the team with a great preseason and should be inserted into games every once in a while as a change of pace back.  He has great speed and athleticism that is tough to keep on the bench.

Fullback: Jerome Felton, Terrelle Smith

Felton is not only a great blocker, but he can also run the ball.  I expect him to get a few carries a game, especially down near the goal line or in short-yardage situations.

Wide Receiver: Calvin Johnson, Bryant Johnson, Dennis Northcutt, Derrick Williams, Yamon Figurs

I don't really know what to expect out of the receivers past the two Johnsons.  Northcutt didn't play at all during the preseason, and Williams, though he showed some potential, struggled quite a bit during training camp.  As for Figurs, I would be surprised if he has more than one catch, as he only has two in his entire career.  He was brought in to return kicks/punts and anything more than that is gravy.

Tight End: Brandon Pettigrew, Will Heller, Casey FitzSimmons

I thought the Lions might decide to carry four tight ends on the active roster, but they decided to stick with the three listed above.  There are two tight ends on the practice squad, though, which is probably extra depth in case an injury happens at this position.

Offensive Tackle: Jeff Backus, Gosder Cherilus, Jon Jansen, Ephraim Salaam

As expected, the Lions kept only the two starters at OT and the two veteran backups.

Offensive Guard: Daniel Loper, Stephen Peterman, Manny Ramirez

With some of the other linemen being able to play multiple positions, it was only necessary for the Lions to keep three guards on the team.

Center: Dominic Raiola, Dylan Gandy

I expected only Raiola to make the team, but the Lions kept Gandy, who can also play guard.

Defensive End: Dewayne White, Jason Hunter, Cliff Avril, Andre Fluellen, Copeland Bryan

The Lions' depth at this position isn't great, but it's not bad, either.

Defensive Tackle: Landon Cohen, Grady Jackson, Sammie Hill, Orien Harris

This position, on the other hand, is scary thin depth-wise.  I figured the Lions would keep two additional DTs on the roster, but they decided to put their faith behind a couple of young players and a veteran who will play only situationally.  It's a risky move, especially if there are any injuries, but the Lions basically went with youth at this position.

Linebacker: Ernie Sims, Larry Foote, Julian Peterson, Jordon Dizon, Darnell Bing, DeAndre Levy

At one point it looked like Bing was headed to the IR, but he got healthy and made the team, likely taking what could have been Zack Follett's spot on the roster.

Cornerback: Phillip Buchanon, Anthony Henry, Eric King, William James, Marcus McCauley, Kevin Hobbs

There was a battle for the final spot at cornerback, and ultimately that single spot became two spots for new players -- McCauley and Hobbs.  Chris Roberson probably would have made the team if he wasn't injured, but that is pure speculation on my part.

Safety: Louis Delmas, Kalvin Pearson, Marquand Manuel, Ko Simpson

This position was pretty much set in stone until the Lions traded for Simpson, who took Stuart Schweigert's spot on the team.

Special Teams: Jason Hanson, Nick Harris, Don Muhlbach

Cutting Billy Cundiff means the Lions expect Hanson to be ready for the season opener, which is great news.

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