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Detroit Lions camp preview: Breaking down the bubble players on offense

We make some predictions for the players on the roster bubble heading into training camp.

NFL: NOV 28 Bears at Lions Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’re less than 48 hours from the start of Detroit Lions training camp, and this will be one of the most anticipated camps in several years. Fans are eager to see Dan Campbell take over the reins of the franchise and with there are so many new faces in Detroit, it’s hard to know what to expect when they take the field in Allen Park later this week.

That being said, a lot of us have some preconceived notions about the roster. It’s not all that hard to create a projected depth chart this time of year. And, therefore, we have a good idea of the players that will be fighting for a roster spot over the next month and a half before the regular season.

While we can make our 53-man roster predictions now, plenty of decisions will be made based on camp performances. In other words, nothing is set in stone right now.

This week, we gathered the Pride of Detroit staff to make their best predictions for which players on the perceived roster bubble will make their way onto the final 53-man roster—and which ones are currently on the outside looking in. We’ll continue this series week-by-week to see which players are trending up and which are trending down.

Today, let’s start with the offense.

2021 Bubble Watch Week 1: Offense

Player Jeremy Reisman Ryan Mathews Mike Payton Hamza Baccouche Alex Reno Erik Schlitt John Whiticar Jerry Mallory In total
Player Jeremy Reisman Ryan Mathews Mike Payton Hamza Baccouche Alex Reno Erik Schlitt John Whiticar Jerry Mallory In total
QB Tim Boyle IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 8
QB David Blough IN IN IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT 3
RB Jermar Jefferson IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 8
RB Dedrick Mills OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT 0
FB Jason Cabinda IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 8
TE Alize Mack IN IN OUT IN IN IN IN IN 7
TE Hunter Thedford OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT 0
TE Brock Wright OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT 0
WR Geronimo Allison OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT OUT IN 2
WR Victor Bolden IN OUT IN IN IN OUT IN OUT 5
WR Quintez Cephus IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 8
WR Kalif Raymond OUT IN IN OUT OUT IN IN OUT 5
WR Sage Surratt OUT IN OUT IN OUT OUT OUT IN 3
OT Dan Skipper OUT OUT IN OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT 1
OT Tyrell Crosby IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 8
G Logan Stenberg IN OUT IN IN IN IN IN IN 7
G/C Drake Jackson OUT IN OUT OUT OUT OUT IN IN 3
C Evan Brown OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT 1

Somewhat safe (6-8 votes)

QB Tim Boyle (8 votes) — The Lions wasted little time this offseason getting a backup-quality player to take reps behind Jared Goff. Boyle comes highly regarded from Packers training camp reports but has yet to prove anything in the regular season. He enters camp clearly in the No. 2 position, though that could change.

RB Jermar Jefferson (8 votes) — The Lions RB3 job is up for grabs, and our staff all believes Jefferson is the clear frontrunner. Of course, the team’s interest in Todd Gurley could mean Jefferson won’t stay in the “safe” category long.

FB Jason Cabinda (8 votes) — After the Lions waived Nick Bawden, Jason Cabinda is currently running unopposed for the fullback position—unless we see a tight end take some reps as the team’s H-back.

TE Alize Mack (7 votes) — Much like the team’s RB3 job, the TE3 job is wide open. However, the staff here believes Alize Mack is the heavy favorite from the job. Perhaps it’s because he’s been in the NFL a couple of years. Perhaps it’s because he showed up to training camp looking like this.

WR Quintez Cephus (8 votes) — While no one has Cephus on the outside looking in, one has to wonder if he’ll connect with this regime after being drafted by a previous set of coaches and front-office executives. That being said, he’s young, cheap, and has a physical set of tools that can help Goff and company.

OT Tyrell Crosby (8 votes) — No one took the bait here. Crosby is undeniably talented enough to make the Lions roster as a primary backup, but trade talks loom large.

G Logan Stenberg (7 votes) — Stenberg faces the same challenge as Cephus: Can he impress an entirely different staff this year? Like Cephus, he doesn’t have a lot of proven competition, though, so the majority has him in.

50/50 shot (3-5 votes)

QB David Blough (3 votes) — Only three staffers picked Blough to make the final 53-man roster, but all three of those staffers had Boyle make it, too. Blough’s status is likely dependent on whether the Lions decide to keep two or three quarterbacks on the roster.

WR Victor Bolden (5 votes) — Bolden impressed at minicamp and brings more experience than a lot of Detroit’s young receiver depth. He also could realistically be the team’s returner this year, but he’ll have to beat out...

WR Kalif Raymond (5 votes) — Raymond brings a lot of the same skills Bolden has, leading many to believe either him or Bolden gets a roster spot. Yet a couple of staffers believe the Lions could keep both.

WR Sage Surratt (3 votes) — Likely the leading candidate among the Lions UDFA receivers to win a roster spot, Surratt will need an impressive camp. He didn’t make much of an impression during the spring.

C Drake Jackson (3 votes) — Jackson is viewed as mostly a center prospect in the NFL due to his relatively short size (6-foot-2). That could either work in his favor because Detroit doesn’t have a clear backup center—or work against him—because he doesn’t bring positional versatility.

Still has work to do (0-2 votes)

RB Dedrick Mills (0 votes) — At this point, it’s hard to know what the Lions have in their rookie backs since they didn’t run the ball in minicamp. The Mills undoubtedly enters camp fighting for a roster spot on the practice squad.

TE Hunter Thedford , TE Brock Wright (0 votes) — We’ll have to wait and see if anyone from Detroit’s unproven tight end depth can make an impression in training camp. As of now, there is no buzz among Thedford, Wright, Charlie Taumoepeau, or Jake Hausmann.

WR Geronimo Allison (2 votes) — I previously mentioned that Geronimo Allison may be the forgotten player in the Lions’ wide receiver positional battle, and it appears a couple of staffers agree. He brings legitimate production from Green Bay, but will a year off and a new coaching staff hurt his chances? His physicality brings something different to the table, but is that what Anthony Lynn wants in this offense?

OT Dan Skipper (1 vote) — Skipper’s biggest chance to make the roster is if Tyrell Crosby is traded. Otherwise, he’d have to either jump Crosby, Matt Nelson, or convince the coaching staff they need a fifth offensive tackle.

C Evan Brown (1 vote) — Brown could also be the team’s backup center, but he may have a little more versatility than Jackson. Brown also has 13 games of NFL experience to Jackson’s zero, but most of his experience on offense came in the final two games of last year.