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Detroit Lions 53-man roster prediction: Post-minicamp edition

A look at what Detroit’s 53-man roster may look like for the 2017 season.

Detroit Lions v St Louis Rams Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Now that the Detroit Lions have closed on OTAs and minicamp, it’s time to revisit their roster. Based on a handful of practices, we know approximately where these players currently rank based on reps. That being said, there is still a ton of preseason practices to be had, and the competitions are far from over.

But with Detroit’s next set of practices over a month away, let’s take a guess at what the Lions’ 53-man roster may look like at the beginning of the 2017 season.



QB Matthew Stafford
QB Jake Rudock
QB Brad Kaaya

In: N/A
Out: Brad Kaaya

This quarterback battle is already starting to play out much like it did last year. Obviously reports from minicamp and OTAs are extremely premature, but Jake Rudock reportedly looks a lot better, while Brad Kaaya looks very much like a rookie. Last year, many worried about Rudock making it to the practice squad, but I think that’s exactly what Detroit will end up doing with Kaaya.

Running back

RB Ameer Abdullah
RB Theo Riddick
RB Zach Zenner
RB Matt Asiata
RB Dwayne Washington
RB Mike James
RB Tion Green

In: Matt Asiata
Out: Dwayne Washington

I gave the slight edge to Matt Asiata for a few reasons. One, he’s a little more tried and true. Secondly, Dwayne Washington should have no problem making it to the practice squad. Lastly, Washington adds special teams value as a returner, but I don’t think he’s going to win that job. Asiata, on the other hand, brings special teams value outside of the return position.

Wide receiver

WR Marvin Jones Jr.
WR Golden Tate
WR Kenny Golladay
WR TJ Jones
WR Jared Abbrederis
WR Jace Billingsley
WR Keshawn Martin
WR Ryan Spadola
WR Dontez Ford
WR Michael Rector
WR Noel Thomas

In: Jared Abbrederis
Out: Jace Billingsley

Jared Abbrederis was a signing that flew under the radar in January. The story that Abbrederis turned down several mid-season offers last year to start anew in 2017 just shows you how in-demand his skills are. Add to that an impressive few weeks of practice, and I think Abbrederis makes the roster despite not offering much in terms of special teams. As of right now, I have TJ Jones winning the returner job, but that is still very much up for grabs.

Tight end

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

In: N/A
Out: N/A

There’s a good chance the Lions keep a fourth tight end since they’re expected to play in more two or even three tight end sets. But at this point, no one has distanced themselves beyond the clear top three, so I’m sticking with Ebron, Fells and Roberts.

Offensive line

OT Greg Robinson
OT Rick Wagner
OT Corey Robinson
OT Cyrus Kouandjio
OG T.J. Lang
OG Graham Glasgow
OG Laken Tomlinson
OG Joe Dahl
C Travis Swanson
OT Taylor Decker (PUP)
OT Cornelius Lucas
OT Tony Hills
OT Storm Norton
OG Brandon Thomas
OG Matt Rotheram
C Leo Koloamatangi

In: Greg Robinson, Cyrus Kouandjio
Out: Taylor Decker (PUP), Cornelius Lucas

Perhaps I’m putting too much faith in the Lions’ most recent additions, but Detroit’s moves last week showed both how serious Taylor Decker’s injury is and just how unhappy they are with their other options at tackle. This feels like Cornelius Lucas’ final chance to impress the Lions coaches and it appears he’s not off to a good start. However, the uncertainty surrounding the injuries to both Cyrus Kouandjio and Corey Robinson could default the job to Lucas.

With reports of a torn labrum, Taylor Decker to the PUP list seems like a near certainty at this point.


Defensive line

DE Ezekiel Ansah
DE Kerry Hyder
DE Cornelius Washington
DE Armonty Bryant
DE Anthony Zettel
DE Brandon Copeland
DT A'Shawn Robinson
DT Haloti Ngata
DT Akeem Spence
DT Jordan Hill
DT Khyri Thornton
DE Alex Barrett
DE Jeremiah Valoaga
DE Pat O'Connor
DT Ego Ferguson
DT Jeremiah Ledbetter
DT Bruce Gaston

In: Brandon Copeland
Out: Jeremiah Ledbetter

Like last time, I went with 11 defensive linemen for the Lions. They like a heavy rotation of players at the position, and considering they don’t have any standout players that can eat up 70-80 percent of snaps, it makes sense to fill the bench with defensive linemen.

This time, however, I plugged Brandon Copeland into the final 53-man roster, simply because of his versatility. He was reportedly splitting snaps between defensive end and linebacker during OTAs, and considering the Lions don’t have a ton of depth at linebacker, that could prove quite valuable. Jeremiah Ledbetter is a decent practice squad candidate, anyways.


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

In: N/A
Out: N/A

No changes here, but the addition of Copeland adds a little more depth to the position.

Defensive backs

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

In: Alex Carter

I gave the Lions one more roster spot for a defensive back, and this was still an extremely tough decision: either keep Quandre Diggs around for more nickel cornerback competition, or give Alex Carter a chance as a safety. In the end, it just didn’t make sense to keep that many nickel corners on the roster, so I gave the nod to Carter, who is still just 22 years old and could have more potential as a safety.

Special teams

K Matt Prater

P Sam Martin
P Kasey Redfern

LS Don Muhlbach

In: Don Muhlbach
Out: Jimmy Landes

The Lions ended #LONGSNAPPERWATCH2017 last week when they waived Jimmy Landes. Don Muhlbach, take your victory lap.

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