Nearly two hours after the deadline, the Detroit Lions finally announced the final cuts in order to get their roster down to the 53 men required by the league. If you haven’t seen the list of players on the Lions 2018 roster, be sure to check it out here.
Here are the three biggest surprises from the Lions’ initial roster.
SIX wide receivers?
Throughout this entire preseason, we debated whether the Lions should keep four or five wide receivers. I was in the four wide receiver camp, along with our own Hamza Baccouche, but I’ll admit Brandon Powell played well enough this preseason to be on an NFL roster.
However, I don’t think I saw anyone suggest the Lions keep six receivers on the roster, and for that sixth receiver to be Bradley Marquez.
Marquez was a guy that Detroit used a lot on special teams this preseason, but he made almost no impact whatsoever as a receiver. In three games, he had just one reception for a 3-yard touchdown. However, we probably should have known something was up when he sat out the entire preseason finale.
10 offensive linemen, 7 defensive linemen
This offseason we boasted that the Lions’ offensive line depth had improved, but Detroit spent the entire preseason trying to prove us wrong. The offensive line struggled mightily in pass protection and only occasionally opened up rushing lanes for the Lions’ new-and-improved backfield.
As a result, many believed a lot of the Lions reserve offensive linemen were on the chopping block this weekend. Instead, the Lions kept nearly everyone. Kenny Wiggins? In. Leo Koloamatangi? In. Joe Dahl? In. Greg Robinson? No. Hey, how did you get here, Greg? Go away.
The only guy it seems the Lions didn’t keep was Corey Robinson, who they traded away to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional 2020 pick.
On the other side of the ball, we figured the Lions would keep all the help they could get. Instead, the Lions cleaned house. Alex Barrett, Jeremiah Valoaga and Jeremiah Ledbetter were all semi-surprising cuts, and left Detroit with just seven total defensive linemen: Ezekiel Ansah, Anthony Zettel, Da’Shawn Hand, A’Shawn Robinson, Ricky Jean Francois and Sylvester Williams.
Of course, guys like Devon Kennard and Eli Harold will act as defensive ends quite often in this defense, but it’s still surprising to see such low numbers on the defensive line.
Cutting DeShawn Shead
Shead was being heralded as one of the Lions’ most underrated signings this offseason, and he didn’t even end up making the cut. Shead was undoubtedly hurt by an injury that caused him to miss some time in the middle of the preseason, but he returned in time to showcase everything he has in the preseason finale.
Shead entered training camp as the team’s starting No. 2 cornerback. Though he eventually would cede that role to Nevin Lawson, you’d think Shead would’ve had a chance to win it back after Lawson’s nightmarish third preseason game against the Buccaneers.
Instead, the Lions decided to cut Shead, leaving Teez Tabor as the only pure outside cornerback to come in should Lawson continue to struggle.