On Monday afternoon, the Detroit Lions released their first “unofficial” depth chart of the 2018 season in preparation for their Friday exhibition game against the Oakland Raiders. It’s unofficial because it’s compiled by the Lions’ communications department, not by their coaching staff or general manager Bob Quinn.
In other words, take this entire depth chart with a grain of salt. It doesn’t really mean anything, and even if it did, things could drastically change by the time the preseason is over.
Still, let’s take a look at the depth chart and how it matches (or doesn’t match) our observations from training camp.
The offensive side of the ball looks pretty accurate. As expected, Frank Ragnow is slotted in as the starting left guard, while the running back and receiver depth charts match what we’ve seen thus far in camp. While Kerryon Johnson is expected to be a starter by the end of camp, he has consistently been behind both LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick in practice.
Slightly interesting is the fact that Levine Toilolo is third on the depth chart, while Jake Rudock is third at quarterback. Of course, these rankings literally mean nothing right now, so you may as well shrug it off at this point.
Here’s where we see some differences from our training camp observations. Most notably, Nevin Lawson is listed as the No. 2 cornerback even though DeShawn Shead has been taking most of those reps during camp.
In fact, the entire secondary is a little messed up. Instead of a nickel corner spot on the depth chart, the Lions stashed Quandre Diggs as the starting strong safety, a position he has barely played at during training camp. Tavon Wilson has been getting almost all of the first-team strong safety reps.
Another interesting note is Cornelius Washington listed as a defensive tackle, even though he is listed as an end on their official roster. It’s the opposite for rookie Da’Shawn Hand, who has played a lot of defensive tackle, but is listed as an end in this depth chart. With Hand, though, he may be expected to play both this year.
Finally there are special teams, in which there’s only one interesting aspect: kick returner. Throughout training camp there has been no clear starter for kick returns, but the depth chart lists Ameer Abdullah as the first string. Abdullah has certainly been part of the mix when the Lions have practiced kickoffs during training camp, along with Jamal Agnew, Teo Redding, TJ Jones among others.
We’ll see just how accurate this depth chart is when the Lions take the field on Friday night against the Raiders.