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Detroit Lions 53-man roster prediction: Preseason Week 2

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A lot has changed in a week. Here are our latest predictions for the Lions’ 53-man roster

NFL: Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The results of the Detroit Lions’ preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts did a lot to shake up the Lions roster. Obviously two major injuries on the defensive side of the ball changed the landscape on the defensive line, but the performance of others could be just as influential on Lions coaches when it comes to cut day.

Here is my latest 53-man roster prediction after the Lions’ win over the Colts.

Quarterbacks (2)

QB Matthew Stafford
QB Jake Rudock

QB Brad Kaaya

No change here from last time. Rudock looked much improved during Sunday’s game, and for the first time ever, I have some confidence that he could be a manageable backup quarterback. Brad Kaaya wasn’t good nor bad in his NFL debut, but at this point, I still don’t see a need for him on the roster.

Running backs (4)

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

RB Matt Asiata
RB Mike James
RB Tion Green

In: Dwayne Washington
Out: Matt Asiata

Washington was the third running back in on Sunday and the first to take over kick return duties. Asiata, on the other hand, got mostly second half reps and managed just six yards on five carries.

At this point, it looks pretty clear that Washington simply has more value to the team.

Wide receivers (5)

WR Marvin Jones Jr.
WR Golden Tate
WR Kenny Golladay
WR TJ Jones
WR Jared Abbrederis

WR Jace Billingsley
WR Keshawn Martin
WR Dez Stewart
WR Dontez Ford
WR Michael Rector
WR Noel Thomas

I’ve wavered back and forth on whether the Lions should keep four or five receivers on the roster. I still believe they should roll with just four, but something Jim Caldwell said last week makes me think he’ll keep five this year.

“Yeah, it just all depends. It really does. It just depends on how many guys are kept at other positions. What we think, you know, we may have some guys that take us above maybe what our normal limit would be in terms of how many we would keep. It changes. There’s a lot of positions involved in that.”

The Lions have some guys that would justify keeping what their normal limit at wide receiver should be. So give me Jared Abbrederis and those sweet, sweet routes.

Tight ends (4)

TE Eric Ebron
TE Darren Fells
TE Michael Roberts
TE Tim Wright

TE Khari Lee
TE Robert Tonyan
TE Cole Wick

In: Tim Wright

Tim Wright didn’t play in the Lions’ preseason opener, having been added just days earlier, but he’s already my leading candidate to win the No. 4 TE job. The Lions proved on Sunday they’ll need extra help blocking behind a broken offensive line, so keeping an extra tight end makes a lot of sense.

Khari Lee played well against the Colts, but he still has a long ways to go to earn a roster spot.

Offensive line (9)

OT Greg Robinson
OT Rick Wagner
OT Storm Norton
OT Cyrus Kouandjio
OG T.J. Lang
OG Graham Glasgow
OG Laken Tomlinson
OG Joe Dahl
C Travis Swanson

OT Taylor Decker (PUP)
OT Corey Robinson
OT Nick Becton
OT Cornelius Lucas
OG Brandon Thomas
OG Matt Rotheram
C Leo Koloamatangi

In: Storm Norton
Out: Corey Robinson

You have to be healthy to make this team, and Corey Robinson remains on the PUP list. I have Storm Norton taking his spot on the roster, not because I think he played particularly well on Sunday, but simply because he played. Norton was out there more than any other offensive player, getting looks on both sides of the offensive line. Detroit could use that kind of versatility from a young, athletic lineman.

Defensive line (11)

DE Ezekiel Ansah
DE Cornelius Washington
DE Anthony Zettel
DE Alex Barrett
DE Jeremiah Valoaga
DE Pat O'Connor
DT A'Shawn Robinson
DT Haloti Ngata
DT Akeem Spence
DT Jordan Hill
DT Jeremiah Ledbetter

DE Kerry Hyder (IR)
DE Brandon Copeland (IR)
DE Armonty Bryant (Suspended list)
DT Khyri Thornton
DT Ego Ferguson
DT Bruce Gaston

In: Alex Barrett, Jeremiah Valoaga, Pat O’Connor, Jeremiah Ledbetter
Out: Kerry Hyder (IR), Armonty Bryant (Susp.), Brandon Copeland (IR), Khyri Thornton

Obviously it looks like Kerry Hyder and Brandon Copeland are done for the year, so a pair of undrafted rookies take their place on the roster. It’s a horrifying look at the Lions’ new depth chart at defensive end, which now includes three rookies and one second-year player, all of which were taken in the sixth round of the draft or later (if they were even taken at all).

If I was a braver man, I’d throw someone who isn’t on the Lions right now into the mix at defensive end, because that’s almost certainly what will end up happening. But as of right now, I have no good guesses on who the Lions may acquire.

At defensive tackle Khyri Thornton gets the boot, and I don’t think the Lions bother to keep him around on the suspended list. Thornton was still playing at the end of the Lions’ preseason opener which goes to show you how much they value him right now. I snuck Jeremiah Ledbetter in his spot, but the Lions could really use a different body there, too.

Linebackers (5)

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

No changes here. I was very pleased with how the Lions’ linebackers played on Sunday.

Defensive backs (10)

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 Alex Carter

CB Quandre Diggs
CB Tramain Jacobs
CB Adairius Barnes
CB Josh Thornton
S Don Carey
S Rolan Milligan
S Charles Washington

Out: Don Carey

Carey has been in a red no-contact jersey for a while now, giving him little chance to defend his spot on the roster. I know Carey brings a ton of special teams talent, but I really think the reclamation project of Alex Carter is more worthy of the roster spot at this point.

Special teams (3)

K Matt Prater

P Sam Martin
P Kasey Redfern

LS Don Muhlbach

Redfern was wildly impressive during the preseason opener, and I hope that performance can catapult him onto an NFL roster this year, but Sam Martin is still the Lions’ guy.