The release of Theo Riddick was not necessarily out of nowhere, since the coaching staff hadn’t utilized him to his strengths and his value to the team had diminished. However, it signifies a changing of the guard in the Detroit backfield, which will now be helmed by Kerryon Johnson and C.J. Anderson. The likes of Ty Johnson, Mark Thompson, and Zach Zenner will be competing for a spot or two on the roster.
This is another fact of life in the NFL: it’s a “What will you do for me?” mentality instead of a “What have you done for me?” one. Veterans and long-time faces in the franchise are often subjected to being cut. Is there a young up-and-comer nipping at their roster spot? Did the team bring in additional competition? Riddick, despite some excellent years with the Lions, was looking like an odd man out. If anything, they did him a favor by releasing him at the start of camp, allowing him to find a new home and get settled with the playbook.
A lot can change over the course of the preseason. Last season, the Lions cut DeShawn Shead at the start of September. Despite once being billed as a starter, the Lions clearly weren’t satisfied with his performance. With plenty of football to come, some jobs aren’t as safe as they appear. It is worth keeping an eye on our Bubble Watch to see who might be on the chopping block.
August is quickly approaching, and that means preseason and an eventual cut down to 53 players. With the Lions restocked after an offseason of drafting and signing, it remains to be seen if others will suffer a similar fate to Theo Riddick. Today’s Question of the Day is the following:
Which Lions players could be surprise cuts?
My answer: The definition of “surprise” is open to interpretation, but in my eyes, I’m looking at players who, as of now, look like safe bets to make the roster. These will clearly change over the course of training camp, but that’s for future us to worry about. I want to know RIGHT NOW who could be a surprise cut.
My pick for surprise cut is Rashaan Melvin. “But he’s our CB2!” you might be exclaiming right now, to which I reply, “Yes, he is... for now.”
The Lions had a similar situation last year with Shead. Shead earned a one-year, $3.5 million contract to be the Lions’ starter across from Darius Slay. He was cut in September and later re-signed, but he was never a competent starter. Melvin earned a one-year, $3.5 million contract to be the Lions’ starter across from Darius Slay.
Melvin is coming off a poor season with the Oakland Raiders, and though he had some success with the Indianapolis Colts beforehand, I’m not certain that the 29 year old will bounce back in Detroit. I think the acquisition of slot corner Justin Coleman will be a big factor in whether or not Melvin stays. Coleman might be given a shot to play outside, given his noteworthy contract.
The cornerback group as a whole has a lot of question marks, such as the role of rookie Amani Oruwariye, whether Teez Tabor and Mike Ford can show some growth, and if the likes of Marcus Cooper, Dee Virgin, Andre Chachere, and Jamal Agnew can earn some starting time. I don’t think Melvin’s spot on this roster is as solid as it might appear.