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Ranking every player on the 2023 Detroit Lions roster: 91-81

Our rankings of the entire Detroit Lions’ 2023 roster begins with the bottom 11.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As we approach Detroit Lions training camp at the end of the week, it’s time to take one last overview of the team’s roster. While roster limits are currently at 90, the Lions are one of a few teams that actually have 91 players due to the NFC North being a part of the NFL’s International Pathways Program. Detroit was awarded Italian offensive tackle Max Pircher, and he doesn’t count against the roster.

For the past few years our staff has ranked the entire Detroit Lions roster from 90 to 1, and this year we have done it again. The process is very simple: our staff provides their individual rankings, and we average the results. Then we reveal our rankings 10 at a time, while I provide a little background on each player and where they ranked in last year’s list (if applicable).

Speaking of which, you can access our rankings from previous years here:

Alright, let’s kick off this year’s rankings! We start with the bottom 11 players on the roster, and—as you’d expect—many of them are undrafted rookies. Let’s get into it.

91. CB Khalil Dorsey (Highest ranking: 83; Lowest ranking: 91)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Dorsey has quietly been in the NFL since 2020, when he went undrafted out of Northern Arizona. That year, he played in six games for the Ravens, although he was almost exclusively on special teams.

Detroit actually added Dorsey to the practice squad late in 2022, and he signed a futures deal in January. But with Detroit’s revamped secondary, Dorsey faces a huge challenge to even remain on the team’s practice squad this year.

90. OT Max Pircher (High: 83; Low: 91 )

Last year’s ranking: N/A

The aforementioned International Pathways player, Pircher, too, has been in the league for a couple of years now. First selected as part of this program in 2021 for the Los Angeles Rams, Pircher has made a few preseason appearances but has not found himself on a gameday roster during the regular season.

While Pircher is a long shot to make the 53-man roster, the Lions can place him on their practice squad without him taking up one of the 16 spots. So don’t be surprised if he sticks around.

89. C Brad Cecil (High: 84; Low: 90)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

The first rookie UDFA on our list, Cecil comes to Detroit with a boatload of experience in college. A five-year starter at USF, Cecil has an outside chance of winning a roster spot if Detroit opts to keep center depth and he can beat out Ross Pierschbacher in camp. A practice squad spot is more likely, though.

88. DT Cory Durden (High: 83; Low: 90)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Detroit’s depth at defensive tackle isn’t great, but Durden still faces an uphill battle. Another UDFA rookie with plenty of playing experience—he was a five-year contributor: three years at Florida State, two years at NC State—Durden will have to beat out the likes of Christian Covington, Levi Onwuzurike, and Benito Jones for the DT4 spot.

87. CB Jarren Williams (High: 77; Low: 89)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Much like Dorsey, Williams was a late-season addition to the practice squad. Williams, however, actually got activated to the gameday roster twice to provide some relief on special teams when injuries hit the secondary hard.

Williams actually started a few games for the Giants in 2021 and produced a solid 71.1 PFF grade that season. He may be a little underrated here but he faces the same uphill climb that Dorsey does.

86. EDGE Zach Morton (High: 78; Low: 91)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Morton was at the Lions’ local pro day, seeing as he went to high school at Cass Tech. In college, he initially went to Syracuse but did not see much playing time. After transferring to Akron, he fared much better, tallying 5.5 sacks in two seasons and a pair of interceptions. Detroit is currently stacked at EDGE, so Morton’s best chance is to make an impression in camp and earn a spot on the practice squad.

85. OT Ryan Swoboda (High: 73; Low: 87)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

First off, Swoboda is an athletic freak:

Detroit isn’t exactly settled when it comes to their offensive tackle depth, so Swoboda could be a future project to be a swing tackle. At UCF, he was a three-year starter at right tackle, and that experience could give him a leg up on someone like Obinna Eze if he can translate his game to the next level quickly.

84. WR Chase Cota (High: 80; Low: 90)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

After four years of modest contributions at UCLA, Cota shifted to another PAC-12 team to join the Oregon Ducks in 2022 as a super senior. There he had his best season, hauling in 36 catches for 497 yards and three touchdowns.

At 6-foot-3, 201 pounds, Cota brings some size to a unit that doesn’t have a ton of it, along with a decent amount of speed, too. His $80,000 in guarantees as a UDFA gives him an outside shot at winning an early spot on the roster if he can beat out seventh-round rookie Antoine Green.

83. WR Dylan Drummond (High: 79; Low: 90)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Drummond got a tryout at Lions' rookie minicamp and made a big enough impression to earn a spot on the team’s 90-man roster. A vertical threat for Eastern Michigan, Drummond’s most successful season was in 2021, pulling in 704 yards and six touchdowns on 64 catches.

He may have a tougher route to the roster than Cota, simply because the Lions already have players of his skillset in guys like Kalif Raymond.

82. DT Chris Smith (High: 79; Low: 87)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Smith, a UDFA out of Notre Dame, is capable of filling multiple roles along the defensive front. Though he doesn’t have prototypical size for a nose tackle (6-foot-1, 302), he has experience there and can slide to the three-tech, as well. With an impressive 8.46 RAS, Smith has a solid toolbox of athletic skills, but it may take some time to figure out what he can do best at the next level.

81. TE Derrick Deese (High: 78; Low: 89)

Last year’s ranking: 86th

The only one of the bottom 11 players who was on the team last year. Deese was initially placed on the team’s 2022 practice squad. He only lasted a week there, though, before being released. Curiously, while he did not return to the practice squad for the rest of the season, the Lions did sign him to a futures deal in January.

Though the Lions only have five rostered tight ends right now, he’s clearly at the bottom of the totem pole, and it’s hard to see him moving from it.

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