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Lions roster cuts: Evaluating the first round of moves

The Detroit Lions have made 15 moves and are now down to 75 players. Let's examine who was let go in the first round of roster cuts.

Leon Halip

The Detroit Lions have spent the last week or so slowly trimming down their roster in time for Tuesday's deadline. Following 15 moves, the Lions now have 75 players left, and that number will drop to 53 by the time Saturday is over. Before then, let's take a look at each player who was let go during the first round of roster cuts.

WR Mike Thomas - Thomas was the first player let go in this round of roster cuts, and he actually has already been with the Arizona Cardinals for a week now. It was clear Thomas just wasn't a very good fit in the Lions' offense, and by releasing him when they did, he got a chance to land elsewhere. It's disappointing that the trade for Thomas turned out so poorly, but better to move on now than try to force things to work, I suppose.

WR Chaz Schilens - Schilens joined the Lions just before the start of training camp. The Lions hoped he would emerge as a legitimate target at wide receiver, but it just never happened. He wasn't able to work his way up the depth chart, and guys like Patrick Edwards, Kris Durham and Micheal Spurlock put themselves in a better position to actually make the team.

WR Cody Wilson - An undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan, Wilson showed some potential. Ultimately, though, there just wasn't a place for him in the Lions' offense given his lack of size and speed.

WR Terrence Austin - Of all the wide receivers let go in this round of cuts, Austin probably had the best training camp. He made some impressive plays, and for the first couple weeks, he was in the mix for one of the final spots at wide receiver. That didn't last as the preseason got going, but generally speaking, he put together a pretty good performance.

TE Cameron Morrah - Morrah was just recently added as extra depth, and he never really factored into the competition for a roster spot at tight end.

TE Matt Veldman - Joseph Fauria managed to hold off Veldman in the bid to be the Lions' fourth tight end. Whether or not the fourth tight end will actually make the 53-man roster is an entirely different discussion, but Veldman is already gone because he couldn't beat out Fauria.

OL Derek Hardman - Hardman brought decent versatility to the Lions' offensive line, but he just wasn't in the mix to be a backup at tackle or guard.

DE Ronnell Lewis - Lewis is probably the most disappointing player on this list. He was selected in the fourth round in 2012 by the Lions, and the hope was that he would emerge as a strong special teams player while he learned how to play defensive end in the NFL. Ultimately, Lewis didn't end up contributing very much on special teams, and with the Lions going in a different direction at defensive end (tall, long players), Lewis got lost in the shuffle. (His offseason arrest didn't help his case, either.)

DT John Drew - Drew signed with the Lions and basically had one practice before he aggravated a hamstring injury. The Lions proceeded to waive him with the injured designation, and he has since reverted to injured reserve. It's not clear right now if he will later be released with an injury settlement or if the Lions have essentially decided to stash him on IR for the season.

CB D.J. Johnson - Johnson turned some heads in the early stages of training camp, leading to Gunther Cunningham saying he has a real shot to make the team. That was really never the case, though, as there were just too many players ahead of him on the depth chart at cornerback.

CB Ross Weaver - Weaver ended up in the same boat as Drew. He was waived/injured and placed on injured reserve, and the Lions now could decide to release him or stash him on IR. Considering he's been added and let go by the Lions multiple times in the past, it doesn't seem like there is much upside here.

CB Myron Lewis - Lewis joined the Lions earlier this month when injuries started to pile up at cornerback. Like the other corners on this list, there were just too many players ahead of him on the depth chart.

CB DeQuan Menzie - Menzie was claimed off waivers by the Lions in May. It was assumed at the time that he was just a camp body, and that ultimately ended up being the case.

S Chris Hope - Of all the cuts, this one surprised me the most. Hope had been getting work with the first-team defense with Louis Demas and Glover Quin missing time because of injuries, and he seemed to be in position to make the team as one of the backups at safety. Clearly, the Lions felt differently about the situation, as they went ahead and released Hope on Sunday.

K Havard Rugland - I certainly understand why fans are upset that Rugland was let go. His unique background made for a fascinating story to follow during training camp, and his underdog status in the kicker battle made him a fan favorite. However, the reality is that the Lions preferred David Akers because he has so much more experience, and ultimately they went with a veteran as Jason Hanson's replacement.

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