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2018 Detroit Lions Bubble Watch: Hakeem Valles a roster lock?

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The Lions tight end has played too well this preseason to be ignored.

NFL: New York Giants at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Trades, plays and depth chart reveals were all responsible for a fair amount of movement in this week’s Bubble Watch. The Detroit Lions made a significant trade for linebacker Eli Harold, causing disruption among both the linebackers and defensive end groups. Guys like Hakeem Valles and Brandon Powell made impressions against the Buccaneers, causing many to reconsider the makeup of this depth chart. And certain players didn’t even play last week, causing their stock to drop.

Here’s a look at the Pride of Detroit staff’s opinion on the players stuck on the roster bubble:

Week 4 Bubble Watch offense

Player Jeremy Reisman Kent Lee Platte Justin Simon Ryan Mathews Mike Payton Alex Reno Chris Perfett Hamza Baccouche Mansur Shaheen John Whiticar Andrew Kato Change
Player Jeremy Reisman Kent Lee Platte Justin Simon Ryan Mathews Mike Payton Alex Reno Chris Perfett Hamza Baccouche Mansur Shaheen John Whiticar Andrew Kato Change
QB Jake Rudock OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT :( 0
QB Matt Cassel IN IN IN IN OUT IN IN IN IN IN IN 0
RB Ameer Abdullah IN IN IN IN OUT IN IN IN IN IN IN 2
RB Zach Zenner OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT -2
WR Jace Billinglsey OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT -2
WR Teo Redding OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT -3
WR Brandon Powell OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT OUT OUT(PS) OUT OUT OUT 1
TE Hakeem Valles IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN in and also TE2 IN IN 6
TE Michael Roberts IN IN IN IN IN IN IN OUT(PS) IN IN IN N/A
G Kenny Wiggins IN OUT OUT OUT OUT IN IN IN IN IN IN 1
G Joe Dahl OUT IN IN IN IN IN OUT IN IN OUT IN -1
G Wesley Johnson IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT N/A
G/C Leo Koloamatangi IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 2
T Corey Robinson IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 1
T Brian Mihalik OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT -1

Note: PS denotes practice squad for Hamza’s choices

New to bubble watch: Michael Roberts (trending down), Wesley Johnson (trending down)

Biggest winners: Hakeem Valles (+6), Ameer Abdullah (+2), Leo Koloamatangi (+2)
Biggest losers: Zach Zenner (-2), Jace Billingsley (-2)

We are all part of the Hakeem Valles hive now. Thanks to yet another impressive preseason performance—and partially with the first-team offense this time—Valles is a consensus IN among the staff right now. He’s also likely positively impacted by Luke Willson’s mysterious knee injury, but even without it, Valles has proved he earned that roster spot.

I threw in Michael Roberts in the bubble watch this week to see if anyone thought Valles would take his spot completely or if they believed the Lions would roll with four tight ends. Only one thinks Roberts is out.

Elsewhere, Ameer Abdullah is back to a full consensus in, while Zach Zenner’s late appearance in Tampa did nothing to help his case. Jace Billingsley, who missed a full week of practice and the game, is now a consensus out as well.

Week 4 Bubble Watch defense

Player Jeremy Reisman Kent Lee Platte Justin Simon Ryan Mathews Mike Payton Alex Reno Chris Perfett Hamza Baccouche Mansur Shaheen John Whiticar Kyle Yost Change
Player Jeremy Reisman Kent Lee Platte Justin Simon Ryan Mathews Mike Payton Alex Reno Chris Perfett Hamza Baccouche Mansur Shaheen John Whiticar Kyle Yost Change
DE Jeremiah Valoaga OUT OUT IN OUT OUT IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT -9
DE Alex Barrett IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 2
DE Cam Johnson IN IN OUT OUT IN OUT IN IN OUT IN OUT N/A
DT Christian Ringo OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT 0
DT Jeremiah Ledbetter IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 0
LB Eli Harold IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN N/A
LB Jonathan Freeny IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 3
LB Chad Meredith OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT (PS) OUT OUT OUT 0
LB Freddie Bishop OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT -3
LB/S Miles Killebrew IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 0

New to Bubble Watch: Eli Harold (trade), Cam Johnson (trending up)
Off the Bubble: Charles Washington (in), Rolan Milligan (out)

Biggest winners: Jonathan Freeny (+3), Alex Barrett (+2)
Biggest losers: Jeremiah Valoaga (-9), Freddie Bishop (-3)

There wasn’t a ton of movement on the defensive bubble, outside of the Eli Harold trade. The entire staff thinks Harold is already a roster lock, and the person he seems to be pushing out is Jeremiah Valoaga.

Interestingly, Valoaga has been a consensus IN for a couple of weeks now. But after the Harold trade, and the fact that Valoaga did not even play against the Buccaneers, he has quickly convinced everyone he’s the odd man out. For those that still have Valoaga in, Freddie Bishop is the one pushed out by Harold’s addition.

Cam Johnson, who got a significant amount of playing time with the first string on Friday, has convinced about half of the staff that he’ll be around in September. While Jonathan Freeny picked up three more believers, returning to preseason action after missing the Giants game.