As the offseason winds down, we're going to project each position on the Detroit Lions depth chart and also take a look at some training camp battles. First up is the quarterback position.
Starter: Matthew Stafford | Top backup: Dan Orlovsky
The top half of the depth chart at quarterback is already set for the Lions. Matthew Stafford is entering his sixth season as Detroit's starting quarterback, and he will be backed up by Dan Orlovsky, who returned to the Lions this offseason. Orlovsky is taking over for Shaun Hill, who departed for St. Louis after spending four seasons as the Lions' backup quarterback.
Third string: Kellen Moore | Other players: James Franklin
Considering James Franklin didn't even get any snaps during the Lions' mandatory minicamp last month, it doesn't look like he's all that close to the No. 3 spot on the depth chart right now. If he's able to string together some good performances in the preseason, perhaps he could put some pressure on Moore, but if the Lions actually keep three quarterbacks, the No. 3 spot appears to be Moore's to lose.
Camp battle to watch: Kellen Moore vs. James Franklin vs. the rest of the roster
The most intriguing thing about this position isn't necessarily the specific battle for the third quarterback spot. That alone is interesting, but Moore and Franklin could be competing for a spot that isn't even on the 53-man roster when all is said and done. To make sure the Lions keep three quarterbacks, the winner of Moore vs. Franklin is going to have to outperform players at other positions. If neither makes enough of an impression, the Lions could just roll with two quarterbacks on their roster, opening up a spot for someone at another position (and moving the third quarterback spot down to the practice squad in the process).
This year, it's really not just a battle between two quarterbacks for a roster spot. It's a battle between two quarterbacks and players toward the bottom of the depth chart at positions like running back, fullback, wide receiver, linebacker and cornerback. If Moore and Franklin don't impress the coaches all that much and Chad Abram really shines on special teams, for example, perhaps the Lions will decide that having a second fullback is more valuable than a third quarterback who won't dress all season unless there's an injury. That's just one example, but there are going to be a lot of players out to prove that the Lions would be better off keeping them rather than a third quarterback. It'll be up to the winner of Moore vs. Franklin to prove those players wrong.