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Evaluating the Lions' roster cuts: Defense

Here's a closer look at the defensive players who were cut by the Detroit Lions on Saturday.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions released 22 players on Saturday to get their roster down to the 53-man limit. Here's a look at the 10 defensive players who were let go (you can see the offensive breakdown here):

DE Darryl Tapp - Tapp seemed like a lock to make the team going into training camp, but he lost his spot to George Johnson, who had an outstanding last month. Instead of keeping 10 defensive linemen, the Lions opted to simply cut Tapp, but he could potentially be brought back if Kyle Van Noy goes on injured reserve with the designation to return next week.

DT Andre Fluellen - If the Lions weren't so stacked on the defensive line, it would have made sense to keep Fluellen around as a versatile depth player. Actually, it's entirely possible he will return to the Lions in that role at some point like he has in the past. For now, though, there was no reason to keep him around.

DT Jimmy Saddler-McQueen - Saddler-McQueen was once again a camp body who is now hoping to simply make the practice squad.

DT Xavier Proctor - See above. Proctor's situation is the same as Saddler-McQueen's.

LB Julian Stanford - I suppose it's possible that Stanford could be re-signed if Van Noy goes on short-term IR, but it seems unlikely. He's a similar player to Travis Lewis, and Lewis beat him out to make the team.

LB Brandon Hepburn - Hepburn looks like he's headed to the practice squad for a second consecutive season. Perhaps he will develop into a decent backup at linebacker and a contributor on special teams, but he was simply behind Ashlee Palmer and Lewis this summer.

LB Shamari Benton - Benton only signed with the Lions two weeks ago. There was no shot of him making the 53-man roster after getting such a late start, but he could be someone the Lions keep on their practice squad in order to get a longer look at him.

CB Chris Greenwood - The Lions had high hopes for Greenwood, but he just didn't live up to them. This year especially it seemed like Greenwood had a chance to really establish himself as one of the Lions' top backups at cornerback, but that just didn't happen. As a result, the Lions decided to move on for the time being. He could return to the practice squad yet again, but he may be better off with a fresh start elsewhere at this point.

CB Mohammed Seisay - Seisay was a camp body at cornerback who performed well enough to potentially end up on the practice squad. Actually, the Lions might opt to simply keep him over Greenwood on their practice squad.

S Nate Ness - Ness first joined the Lions in April, but he was let go in May when they signed their undrafted free agents. The Lions brought him back in early August, though, and he ended up with two interceptions in three preseason games. By the time he re-signed with the team, he was already behind Isa Abdul-Quddus and Jerome Couplin, but he could be someone to keep in mind down the road if the Lions are ever in need of extra safety help.

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