clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Detroit Lions post-draft 53-man roster prediction

An early look at what the Lions’ 53-man roster may look like in September.

NFL: Detroit Lions-Training Camp Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions don’t quite have a full 90-man roster yet, but as the team tries to fill out the remaining dozen or so spots in preparation for minicamp, it’s not too early to take a look at what might be.

There’s a good chance the Lions add a new name or two, but for now, let’s try and see if we can predict what the roster will look like at the beginning of the regular season—just four months away.



QB Matthew Stafford
QB Jake Rudock
QB Brad Kaaya

At this point, it’s hard to see the Lions letting any of their backup quarterbacks go. Brad Kaaya was likely going to find himself a home if the Lions hadn’t taken him in the sixth round, but it’s probably too early for him to unseat Jake Rudock. I’m not a huge fan of carrying three quarterbacks, but if you’re going to develop young passers, you have to make some concessions.

Running back

RB Ameer Abdullah
RB Theo Riddick
RB Zach Zenner
RB Dwayne Washington
RB Mike James

I really expect the Lions to add some competition here, but as the roster stands, there’s not much question that Mike James is the odd man out.


FB Michael Burton

I just can’t see how the Lions can justify Michael Burton’s roster spot, especially if the plan is to carry three quarterbacks. He was a healthy scratch in the Lions’ last two games, undoubtedly their most important two of the season.

Wide receiver

WR Marvin Jones Jr.
WR Golden Tate
WR Kenny Golladay
WR Jace Billingsley
WR TJ Jones
WR Keshawn Martin
WR Jared Abbrederis
WR Ryan Spadola
WR Andrew Turzilli

The Lions only carried four receivers in their initial 53-man roster last season, but with no clear No. 4, the Lions would be smart to keep five this year, unless they add another before training camp. It’s a close call between TJ Jones and Keshawn Martin for the final spot, but at this point I can see Jones getting one final shot.

Tight end

TE Eric Ebron
TE Darren Fells
TE Michael Roberts
TE Khari Lee
TE Cole Wick
TE Kennard Backman

This is just about the only position on the team where there should be little competition. The only way I see things ending up differently is if there is an injury.

Offensive line

OT Taylor Decker
OT Rick Wagner
OT Cornelius Lucas
OT Corey Robinson
OT Pierce Burton
OG T.J. Lang
OG Graham Glasgow
OG Laken Tomlinson
OG Joe Dahl
OG Brandon Thomas
OG Matt Rotherham
C Travis Swanson

Again, this seems pretty clear. The Lions kept nine offensive linemen last year, and there’s a pretty clear line after nine linemen again this year. In fact, this is the exact same nine linemen: just replace Riley Reiff and Larry Warford with Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang.


Defensive line

DE Ezekiel Ansah
DE Kerry Hyder
DE Cornelius Washington
DE Armonty Bryant
DE Anthony Zettel
DE Brandon Copeland
DE Pat O'Connor
DT A'Shawn Robinson
DT Haloti Ngata
DT Akeem Spence
DT Jordan HIll
DT Khyri Thornton
DT Jeremiah Ledbetter

It may seem excessive to carry 11 linemen, but that’s exactly what they did last year, and for good reason. Detroit uses a heavy rotation on the defensive line, while at linebacker,they typically only have two on the field for the majority of the game. After adding three linemen in free agency and two in the draft, there doesn’t seem to be room for Brandon Copeland anymore, while Pat O’Connor has practice squad written all over him.


LB Tahir Whitehead
LB Jarrad Davis
LB Paul Worrilow
LB Antwione Williams
LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin
LB Thurston Armbrister
LB Steve Longa
LB Brandon Chubb
LB Nick Bellore

The future of the linebacker crew is here. Jarrad Davis, Antwione Williams and Jalen Reeves-Maybin are all 23 or under. Thurston Armbrister could contend for a spot here, but he’d have to have a very impressive camp to erase the memories of his play last season.

Defensive backs

CB Darius Slay
CB Nevin Lawson
CB Teez Tabor
CB DJ Hayden
CB Johnson Bademosi
CB Jamal Agnew
CB Quandre Diggs
CB Alex Carter
CB Adairius Barnes
CB Charles Washington
S Glover Quin
S Tavon Wilson
S Miles Killebrew
S Don Carey
S Rolan Milligan

These are undoubtedly the toughest positions to predict. At the moment, I have Quandre Diggs as the last man out, but I could easily see fifth-round rookie Jamal Agnew getting the axe in favor of Diggs. At this point, the only reason I have Agnew ahead of him is because of his potential to play punt returner. DJ Hayden’s spot on the roster wouldn’t be safe if the Lions weren’t giving him $2.25 million guaranteed.

Special teams

K Matt Prater

P Sam Martin
P Kasey Redfern

LS Jimmy Landes
LS Don Muhlbach

I know I said this last year, but I think it’s finally time for Don Muhlbach to pass the torch in #LONGSNAPPERWATCH2017.

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.