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Detroit Lions stock report: 5 risers, 4 fallers in loss to Jaguars

A tough scene on offense, but lots to love on defense Saturday.

NFL: Preseason-Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t exactly a fun watch for Detroit Lions fans as they hosted the Jacksonville Jaguars Saturday, but there was plenty to take away. The offense was ugly. The defense was flashy. The youngsters were promising. But if you wanted answers to position battles, you certainly didn’t get them. Here are your movers from Saturday’s loss to the Jaguars:

Stock up: Steven Gilmore, CB

Steven Gilmore’s day did not start out well. On the Jaguars’ second drive of the day, Gilmore gave up a 48-yard reception in coverage that could have justifiably been called pass interference as well. After that, however, he didn’t look back.

Gilmore had a beautiful pass defense on the next Jaguars drive to hold them to a field goal, and generally played stellar the rest of the afternoon, including coming down with this tip drill interception:

As a rookie corner, you’re bound to make mistakes. In order to stay afloat, you have to put them behind you, and that’s exactly what Gilmore did. His first mishap aside, he’s making a strong case for himself to stick around.

Stock up: James Houston IV, LB

We’ve long known James Houston as an EDGE, but he’s showing us week in and week out that he’s more than that. Beyond his regular pass-rushing profile (which wasn’t lacking by any means Saturday), Houston is showing a lot more comfort as a run defender and is playing with improved discipline.

Heck, he even made plays sitting in coverage in the flat.

Houston is on a strong upwards trajectory from where he started in training camp, and Saturday’s performance was a testament to that.

Stock down: Brad Cecil, G

The Lions have been lacking offensive line depth for weeks. Unfortunately, Brad Cecil doesn’t look like the man who will fix that. Cecil was frequently at fault for the rampant pressure in the first several Lions drives, including this mess of a play:

Tough look for the entire backup offensive line Saturday, but this miscommunication was especially ugly.

Stock down: Bobby Hart, G

Speaking of offensive linemen who struggled, Bobby Hart didn’t do himself any favors either. He was another guilty party for much of the early pressures Saturday. However, things got arguably uglier in the run game. Hart whiffed on multiple pulls, leading to Craig Reynolds getting swallowed up early and often. That included a 2-yard loss early in the second quarter that was blown up as a result of Hart’s missed assignment, that looked much worse on film than it does on paper. Things are not trending upwards for Bobby Hart.

Stock up: Chase Cota, WR

Cota’s box score at wide receiver won’t impress, but the film will. In addition to a touchdown catch, Cota was a wild card punt returner Saturday, and it paid off. He wiggled his way through the Jaguars’ punt coverage unit for a 28-yard return on the first Lions punt return of the day.

If you were hoping for clarity in the wide receiver competition Saturday, you’re not getting it.

Stock up: Tracy Walker, S

It’s hard to believe Tracy Walker is getting considerable reps with the second team defense, but that’s how deep this roster is now. It’ll also help Walker ramp up as he returns from a torn achilles tendon suffered in Week 3 of last season.

Coming off of an injury like that, the number one thing you’re looking for is explosiveness. We saw that plenty Saturday, with Walker showing he can still play sideline to sideline, doing all the heavy lifting for Steven Gilmore’s interception. He also flew around near the line of scrimmage, and it showed up in the stat box.

His volume of snaps is really encouraging, too. Often times a player being fully cleared comes with baggage of snap counts as they ramp back up to speed, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Walker. All signs point to him being full-game ready ahead of Week 1, giving the Lions absurd depth at the safety position.

Stock down: Teddy Bridgewater, QB

It was a rough outing for Bridgewater Saturday, largely by no fault of his own. We all had high expectations due to the hype around the Bridgewater signing, but a porous offensive line gave him little to work with and really rained on the parade. It won’t impact Bridgewater’s stock much; as far as I’m concerned, Nate Sudfeld is now auditioning for other teams. However, as a fan and someone who was very excited to see Bridgewater suit up, it was a bit of a letdown that he didn’t have more to work with.

Stock up: Starling Thomas, CB

Thomas didn’t have a flashy day in coverage, but he made huge strides on special teams. In addition to continuing his run as a reliable gunner, he uncorked a 37-yard kickoff return midway through the first quarter.

Even as CB5/6, Thomas likely wouldn’t be getting meaningful snaps on defense this year. If he wants to find his way onto the field, it’ll be through special teams, and the budding Star(ling) clearly knows it.

Stock down: Jason Cabinda, FB

I want Jason Cabinda to stick to this roster, I really do. However, I’m not seeing the Lions prioritizing a fullback as much as they did in previous preseasons. If Cabinda wants to make this roster, he needs to put on a show, and Saturday’s drop didn’t do him any favors. Perhaps he still has a shot via special teams, but after Saturday’s performance I have him on the outside looking in as far as his tenure at fullback goes.

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