Lions roster cuts: Evaluating the final round of moves

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions made 22 moves on Saturday and are now down to 53 players. Let's examine who was let go in the final round of roster cuts.

Okay, so the final round of roster cuts isn't truly over just yet. In reality, Saturday was merely the first step with teams getting down to 53 players. Now they will look over waivers and examine free agents as they make their final touches before all of the attention turns to Week 1 of the regular season.

For the Detroit Lions, their process of getting down to 53 players involved them releasing 20 guys, waiving/injured one and placing another on injured reserve. Let's take a look at each player who was moved off the roster on Saturday.

RB Steven Miller - Miller's speed and elusiveness nearly got him a spot on the roster, but the Lions decided to keep Micheal Spurlock as their returner instead. Perhaps Miller will be brought back when Montell Owens goes on short-term injured reserve, or perhaps he will end up on the practice squad if he clears waivers.

FB Shaun Chapas - Considering he's a fullback, it would have been a shock if Chapas had made the team. He's another player with a shot at the practice squad since he could help with the scout team when the Lions play opponents that actually use a fullback.

WR Corey Fuller - The rookie from Virginia Tech just didn't do enough in the preseason to warrant a serious look for the 53-man roster. It'd be pretty surprising if he doesn't end up on the practice squad, though, as I doubt the Lions want to completely give up on a player they just selected in this year's draft.

WR Matt Willis - For many, Willis being let go was the most disappointing roster cut. Simply based on his play in the preseason, Willis seemed deserving of a roster spot, especially considering the Lions kept six wide receivers. They apparently feel more comfortable with Kris Durham as their fifth guy (and Spurlock as the returner), though, at least for right now.

TE Michael Williams - When Williams had surgery on his broken hand earlier this week, the hope was that he would return at some point this season. That's not going to happen with him going on injured reserve, though. This seems more like a move to free up a roster spot than anything, but I guess the Lions feel like they can make do with Joseph Fauria and one of their backup tackles filling the Riley Reiff role we saw last year.

OT Kevin Haslam - Haslam didn't spend much time with the Lions, and he was clearly behind the four tackles who made the team. His release was a given.

OG Darren Keyton - Keyton got a lot of work as a center in the preseason, signaling that the Lions at least liked what they saw. We knew he wasn't going to make the team, but maybe he's done enough to warrant a spot on the practice squad.

OG Rodney Austin - Austin came into training camp in good position to make the 53-man roster, but he ended up being beat out by Dylan Gandy and Leroy Harris. The Lions are evidently more comfortable with the veterans serving as their backups at offensive guard and center, but Austin's upside should lead to him returning to the practice squad.

OG Jake Scott - Scott had a pretty impressive preseason at offensive guard for the Lions, but ultimately the versatility of Gandy and Harris led to them making the team over him.

DT Xavier Proctor - Proctor was buried on the depth chart at defensive tackle after joining the Lions at the start of August. He was beyond a long shot to make the team, so his release came as no surprise. His best hope was to simply do enough to earn a spot on the practice squad.

DT Jimmy Saddler-McQueen - Had the Lions not signed Justin Bannan, I think Saddler-McQueen would have made the 53-man roster. He looked pretty good in the preseason, and I could see him sticking around on the practice squad.

DT Ogemdi Nwagbuo - You can really say the same thing about Nwagbuo. Before Bannan was signed, Nwagbuo had a shot at making the team. That changed once Bannan was added, and now Nwagbuo will have to find a spot elsewhere since he's not eligible for the practice squad.

DT Andre Fluellen - Fluellen joined the Lions right as training camp opened. It was his third stint with the team, and it came to an end on Saturday. Once again, the Bannan signing essentially ended Fluellen's hopes of making the 53-man roster.

LB Jon Morgan - Morgan did a pretty good job for an undrafted free agent, but the Lions elected to go with Rocky McIntosh as their final linebacker. Perhaps Morgan will get a look for the practice squad.

LB Brandon Hepburn - In all likelihood, Hepburn will be the linebacker signed to the practice squad considering he was picked by the Lions in the draft this year. Hepburn hoped to make the team for his contributions on special teams, but that didn't end up happening.

LB Chris White - White was just traded to the Lions a week ago by the Buffalo Bills, and he wasn't able to show enough on special teams to beat out McIntosh for a roster spot.

CB Chris Greenwood - Greenwood's injury issues the last two training camps really stunted his development. On the one hand, that's a bad thing because he didn't end up making the 53-man roster, but I like his chances of clearing waivers and getting a year to develop on the practice squad.

CB Ron Bartell - Bartell entered training camp as a starter. Now he's not even on the team. That's what happens when a rookie (Darius Slay) takes your job and a late addition to the team (Rashean Mathis) quickly shows that he will bring more value if kept on the roster.

S Martavius Neloms - Neloms is another undrafted free agent who was unable to make the team. He was actually waived/injured, so he could end up spending 2013 on injured reserve (if the Lions don't release him with an injury settlement).

S Amari Spievey - Spievey's career in Detroit was a pretty disappointing one. He converted to safety after being drafted as a cornerback in 2010, and he actually started for a couple years. Concussion issues and inconsistent play clouded his time with the Lions, and with better options available, his stint with the team came to an end on Saturday.

S Tyrell Johnson - Johnson is probably the most surprising cut for me. I expected him to make the team because of his skills on special teams. It's entirely possible that the Lions will re-sign him after Owens goes on IR, but for now he is no longer a Lion.

P Blake Clingan - The Lions drafted Sam Martin for a reason. Clingan faced an uphill battle to beat out Martin, especially once we all saw what Martin brings to the table as a punter. Clingan did a pretty good job, but more than anything, he was really putting together film for a shot with another team.

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