In a matter of hours, the Detroit Lions will start making cuts in order to get down to 53 players before the 9 p.m. ET deadline. While the roster will likely change once the Lions go through all of the players on waivers and consider making claims, there will be an initial 53-man roster in place on Friday night.
Before the Buffalo Bills game, I made what I expected to be my final 53-man roster prediction. I left the possibility for revisions open, however, and I have in fact made a few changes. This could end up being a case where I should have trusted my initial picks, but with there being so much uncertainty with the roster this year, I don't think I will be matching my career high from last year of nailing 52 spots anyway.
After the jump is a look at my final picks for the Lions' 53-man roster.
Bold = My Picks
DT Ndamukong Suh
CB Chris Houston
Here's a breakdown of the changes I made from my last edition of picks:
- I have finally changed my mind on what the Lions will do with Kellen Moore. I personally don't believe the Lions should spend a spot on the 53-man roster on him, but based on his improvement and comments Jim Schwartz has made, I get the feeling that they will keep him on the team. This is a case where I hope I'm wrong and I hope he ends up starting the season on the practice squad.
- I have taken Maurice Stovall off of the 53-man roster, leaving only five receivers on the team. I think the Lions will keep Kassim Osgood around for his special teams play, and with the addition of Moore, there wasn't room for a sixth receiver.
- At least initially, I have Andre Fluellen making the 53-man roster. He could be on the chopping block if the Lions need to open up a spot for another running back, but I do think the value he brings on the defensive line will see him make the initial 53-man roster, especially when you consider that Nick Fairley could be suspended at some point this season.
- I have taken Ricardo Silva off of the 53-man roster. Although he excelled on special teams on Thursday night before getting hurt and could provide good depth at safety, there isn't room with Fluellen being on the 53-man roster. Should the Lions go with only nine defensive linemen, I expect an additional defensive back to make the team. Silva very well may end up on the initial 53-man roster, but a waiver claim could end up costing him his spot on the team anyway.
- I've had Ryan Donahue winning the punter competition for months, but I have changed my mind. Neither punter really stood out during the preseason, but Ben Graham left a nice final impression with a great punt at the end of Thursday night's game. I think that will help give him the edge over Donahue.
My confidence is admittedly low in my picks this year, especially since the Lions will likely shake things up on Saturday when they start exploring the waiver wire. I think at least two or three players currently on another team could end up in Detroit, specifically at running back and in the secondary. The Lions are lacking talent at those positions, and I expect some changes to be made even after the final 53 is set on Friday night.
What are your picks for the Lions' 53-man roster?