I've been considering how the team will be made up; how many players at each position should be expected and therefore carried on the final 53 man roster. There have been a lot of posts debating whether the Lions should or would prefer to carry 2 or 3 QBs, 5 or 6 WRs, etc.
When you consider how many players on each side of the ball, I've tended to think it's a pretty even split 25-25, with 3 special team players. Is that the right split? I'm inclined to think I'd stack it according to what are likely the best players on special teams and defense. The offense, in my opinion, will either run smooth on its best components or need call-ups from the practice squad.
With that aforementioned thought, I've gone to a 21 offense to 29 defense mix. I know it seems extreme, but I think that the better special team contributors are likely to be defensive players for the most part.
Specifically, here are the components of what I'm considering the best 53:
QB Goff and X (2)
RB Swift, Williams, and Reynolds (3)
FB Cabinda (1)
TE Hockenson and Mitchell (2)
WR Chark, St Brown, Reynolds, Benson, Raymond (5) (with Williams on the DL)
OT Decker, Sewell, and Nelson (3)
OG Jackson, Vaitai, and X (3)
OC Ragnow and Brown (2)
That's just 21 folks!
K Patterson, P Fox, and LS Daly are my 3 specialists
With the 29 remaining slots I've been loading up on defense:
DE Hutchinson, C Harris, R Okwara, J Okwara, Bryant, and Cominsky (6)
DT McNeill, Brockers, Onwuzurike, Cornell, and Davis (5)
LB Anzalone, Board, Barnes, Hamilton, Pittman, and Rodriguez (6)
CB Oruwariye, W Harris, Parker, Okudah, Jacobs, M Hughes, and Lucas (7)
S Walker, D Elliott, Joseph, JJ Hughes, Moore (5)
29 defensive players!
I'd really like to see our defense become a lot, lot better and I think this depth could allow rotations to keep the best match-ups and freshest players on the field to achieve that. Is 29 outrageous? Any research on other teams that might have this much orientation? I'd even be in favor of dropping the 2nd QB if Isaiah Buggs or Eric Banks or Bruce Hector proves to be a capable and needed member of that DT rotation.
Examining the NFL projected rosters of several teams let me see if the way I've balanced the roster can be rationalized:
Several teams expect to carry just 2 QBs (examples are Dallas, Minnesota, and Chicago). Philadelphia is the lone team projected to carry 3 RBs; several project 4 and 5. New England is expected to carry 2 TEs; most teams 3. Cleveland is expected to carry just 5 WRs, but the most common number is 6. New England is projected to carry 8 OL, but 9 seems to be more common. Based on this the lowest count of offensive players would be 20. Therefore, 21 is a possible number to slot for offense.
On defense I found several teams carrying 10 defensive linemen, with the fewest numbering 6. Cleveland and Dallas are projected to carry just 5 linebackers, but the more common being 7 or 8 - like that of Philadelphia, New England, and Minnesota. I found 6 CBs to be typical. I also found 4 to be the average for Ss, however New England carries 7 players designated special team players that might otherwise include up to 4 defensive backs in addition to their 10 other defensive backs. Based on this review, 28 defensive players could be slotted.
Is this mix simply too radical for the Lions to consider? What do you think?