I made one big change on each side of the ball for this week's Detroit Lions roster prediction. Let's start first with the change on offense.
WR Maurice Stovall in, FB Jerome Felton out
Stovall had an excellent game against the Cleveland Browns last week, catching four passes for 67 yards and one touchdown. More importantly, he showed he can be a reliable target at wide receiver. The same can't be said for Derrick Williams, who lost his spot in last week's roster prediction. Stovall has clearly passed him on the depth chart, and I now have Stovall securing a spot on the roster.
The difficult part about adding Stovall was deciding who should not make the 53-man roster. In the end I settled on Felton. When thinking about worth to the team, I ultimately decided that Stovall was more valuable to the Lions than Felton. Obviously there could be a problem with not having a true fullback on the roster, but I think Will Heller has shown enough at fullback to allow the Lions to part ways with Felton. Also, with Stefan Logan helping depth in the backfield (I probably should just list him as a running back instead of a receiver), the Lions can afford to go with Stovall at receiver instead of Felton at fullback.
LB Doug Hogue in, CB Nathan Vasher out
A number of you have disagreed with keeping Vasher over Hogue in my first two roster predictions, and I have finally come around to that line of thinking. In this edition I have Hogue, the Lions' fifth-round pick, making the team over the veteran Vasher.
The one disclaimer I will present is that Vasher not making the team is based on the assumption that Alphonso Smith will be healthy and ready to go in the regular season opener. It seems he's made progress with his broken foot, but if for some reason he's not healthy to start the season, you could see the Lions keep a sixth cornerback on their initial 53-man roster. I'm not sure which linebacker would be the odd man out in that scenario, but I have a hard time believing Hogue would make the team over Ashlee Palmer and Isaiah Ekejiuba.
In any case, you can check out my latest 53-man roster prediction below (players in bold are the ones I have making the team).
QB Matthew Stafford
RB Jahvid Best
FB Jerome Felton
WR Calvin Johnson
TE Brandon Pettigrew
OT Jeff Backus
OG Rob Sims
DE Kyle Vanden Bosch
DT Ndamukong Suh
LB DeAndre Levy
CB Alphonso Smith
LS Don Muhlbach