The Detroit Lions 2023 roster cuts are underway, and we’re tracking them all here. It’s a tough few days for both the front office and, obviously, the players themselves. And given that Detroit’s roster is in a much better place than when coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes took over two years ago, these decisions are even more difficult than a typical offseason.
“We’re going to have to let go of some really good players and that’s tough,” Campbell said after Friday’s preseason finale. “It’s tough to do, but it also means that there’s growth and the talent level has gone up, and that’s a good thing for your football team.”
There are some positions that seem relatively straightforward when it comes to roster decisions. For example, after Nate Sudfeld’s injury, it’s pretty clear the Lions are going to keep just two quarterbacks: Jared Goff and Teddy Bridgewater.
But which positions will the Lions face the most difficult choices? That’s today’s Question of the Day.
My answer: When I was constructing my own roster prediction, the defensive backs were the toughest to figure out. That was complicated by the fact that three roster bubble players finished the preseason with outstanding performances:
Steven Gilmore: 5 tackles, 4 passes defended and pick six— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) August 26, 2023
Chase Lucas: 3 tackles, 3 passes defended and an INT
Khalil Dorsey: 5 tackles, forced fumble and a 62 yard kickoff return.
Who you keeping?
The Lions have eight defensive backs who I would consider locks: Cameron Sutton, Jerry Jacobs, Brian Branch, Will Harris, Starling Thomas, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Kerby Joseph, Tracy Walker. I know some may argue that Harris doesn’t belong amongst this group, but the coaching staff trusts Harris and he can backup literally every defensive back position on the roster.
The tough part begins after that. How many players do you devote to the defensive backfield: nine? 10? 11? My projection kept 11, but I can understand why that feels like a little too much.
Injuries also complicate the decisions here. Emmanuel Moseley started moving around and working with trainers this week, suggesting he could be close to coming back. Is he close enough for the Lions to take him off the Physically Unable to Perform list, or does Detroit think they’re in a good enough position at outside cornerback to have Moseley stay on the list—and off the roster—and miss a minimum of four games?
What about Ifeatu Melifonwu? He’s been injured since the second preseason game. Has Detroit run out of patience with him and are they willing to move on? Is his injury not that serious and he’ll make the roster? Or will they go the route that Erik Schlitt suggested and have him make the initial roster only to place him on injured reserve to bring a different player back?
Finally, there are so many young, promising talents among this group. I already have Thomas as a roster lock, but what about the fates of fellow undrafted rookie Steven Gilmore, second-year Chase Lucas, or Khalil Dorsey, who earned a late promotion in camp and followed it up with a solid preseason performance? Ultimately, I kept Lucas, Gilmore and Melifonwu, but I don’t have a ton of confidence in that prediction.
What position is toughest for you to predict? Scroll down to the comment section and share your thoughts.