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With a full week of training camp complete, I figured it was time to put together my first roster prediction for 2008. Some of the players on the Lions make it easy to predict which side of the table (see below) they should be on as you know they're a lock or are gone. However, there are quite a few players that are on the bubble, so to speak, making it very tough to predict whether or not they will be on the 53-man roster.
I'll explain the reasoning behind some of my decisions later on in this post, but first, here is my roster prediction:
|RB||28||Tatum Bell||29||Brian Calhoun|
|WR||11||Roy Williams||10||Brandon Middleton|
|80||Devale Ellis||15||Taye Biddle|
|81||Calvin Johnson||16||John Standeford|
|84||Shaun McDonald||17||Kenneth Moore|
|87||Mike Furrey||19||Ron Bellamy|
|TE||82||Casey FitzSimmons||49||Sean McHugh|
|86||Michael Gaines||83||John Owens|
|C||51||Dominic Raiola||67||Andy McCollum|
|OG||61||Frank Davis||65||Madison Carroll|
|64||Edwin Mulitalo||71||Corey Hulsey|
|DE||92||Cliff Avril||70||Victor DeGrate|
|95||Jared DeVries||90||Claude Harriott|
|97||Ikaika Alama-Francis||94||Rudolph Hardie|
|DT||75||Shaun Cody||98||Landon Cohen|
|LB||50||Ernie Sims||41||Leon Joe|
|53||Paris Lenon||46||Tyrone Pruitt|
|57||Jordon Dizon||54||Gilbert Gardner|
|58||Teddy Lehman||55||Buster Davis|
|CB||21||Travis Fisher||33||Dovonte Edwards|
|23||Keith Smith||35||LaMarcus Hicks|
|25||Brian Kelly||38||Ramzee Robinson|
|30||Leigh Bodden||43||Stephen Howell|
|S||26||Dwight Smith||24||Greg Blue|
|P||2||Nick Harris||3||Eddie Johnson|
Starting off at the running back position, I went back and forth when it came to Brian Calhoun. Although he does provide versatility as he can return kicks/punts, his injuries have piled up over the last few years and he is pretty far behind for a player entering his third season in the NFL. On top of that, with other positions stockpiling depth, there just wasn't room for someone like Calhoun.
Moving on to tight end, I struggled quite a bit with who should be on the 53-man roster. In the end, Sean McHugh was the bubble player left off the roster. He also has versatility as he can lineup at fullback or tight end, but then again, so can Casey FitzSimmons. In the end, FitzSimmons just seemed to have more talent, giving him the nod over McHugh.
Heading over to the defensive side of the ball, the linebackers gave me loads of trouble. With 10 combined defensive ends/tackles, there wasn't a whole lot of room for extra linebackers, leaving some of the final cuts to be pretty difficult.
First things first, Teddy Lehman and Anthony Cannon were the final two LBs on the roster for me, edging out Buster Davis and Gilbert Gardner. Although the Lions did release Lehman early on in the offseason, he is back now and should stick around due to his versatility. Not only can he play inside and outside linebacker, but he is a great special teams player as well, giving him a spot on the team in my opinion.
As for Anthony Cannon, I gave him the nod over Davis and Gardner simply because he seems to have more upside. I could see Davis overtaking him to make the team as this really was a coin toss type of decision, but for right now I have Cannon keeping his spot on the team.
Once the preseason officially gets started and another month of practice takes place, we all will have a better idea of who will make the team and who will be looking for a new job. I imagine injuries will make this type of prediction a tad bit easier a month from now since players will start to get banged up, but for now at least, I'm pretty happy with my early guesses.
Any thoughts or predictions of your own?