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Detroit Lions roster bubble watch: Predicting offensive positional battle outcomes

Predicting which Detroit Lions players on the roster bubble will make the 53-man roster on offense.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Detroit Lions training camp enters a critical week on Tuesday when the New York Giants come to town. But before we get there, it’s time to reflect on the first two weeks of practice. Plenty has happened and a basic depth chart can be surmised by both the level of play and where players are consistently repping.

So let’s take a closer look at some of the positional battles on the roster bubble and make some more predictions.

It’s Bubble Watch, Week 2! Today, we break down the top positional battles on offense.

Bubble Watch, Week 2: Offense

Player Jeremy Reisman Erik Schlitt Ryan Mathews Hamza Alex Reno John Whiticar Morgan Cannon TOTAL CHANGE
Player Jeremy Reisman Erik Schlitt Ryan Mathews Hamza Alex Reno John Whiticar Morgan Cannon TOTAL CHANGE
QB Nate Sudfeld IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 7 0
RB Justin Jackson IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 7 0
RB Jermar Jefferson OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT 0 0
RB Craig Reynolds IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 7 0
RB Mohamed Ibrahim OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT OUT 0 0
FB Jason Cabinda IN IN OUT IN IN IN IN 6 0
TE James Mitchell IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 7 0
WR Antoine Green IN IN IN IN IN OUT IN 6 0
WR Maurice Alexander OUT OUT OUT OUT IN OUT OUT 1 +1
WR Denzel Mims OUT IN IN IN IN IN OUT 5 -2
WR Dylan Drummond IN OUT OUT IN OUT OUT IN 3 N/A
OT Matt Nelson OUT IN OUT IN OUT IN OUT 3 -3
OT Germain Ifedi OUT OUT IN OUT OUT IN OUT 2 -1
G Colby Sorsdal IN IN IN IN IN IN IN 7 0
G/C Ross Pierschbacher OUT OUT OUT IN IN OUT OUT 2 -1
G Kayode Awosika IN IN IN OUT OUT OUT OUT 3 +2


  • Nate Sudfeld: 7 IN votes (no change)
  • Hendon Hooker: 0 (no change)

Unless something drastic happens, this is likely the last time quarterbacks even bother to appear on bubble watch. Sudfeld is basically unopposed for the backup job with Adrian Martinez’s struggles in camp. And while Hooker is moving well in his workouts after practice, there is no urgency to take him off the Non-Football Injury list.

Running backs

  • Justin Jackson: 7 (no change)
  • Craig Reynolds: 7 (no change)
  • Jermar Jefferson: 0 (no change)
  • Mohamed Ibrahim: 0 (no change)

The staff remains pretty stubborn with their picks at running back. Jermar Jefferson seemed to be gaining some steam with solid special teams play, but that hype died down a bit when special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said this when asked about Jefferson.

“Yeah I don’t think I’d put Jermar on the same boat (as long snapper Scott Daly), just because he hasn’t really played for us during the regular season and Daly has been playing but in terms of Jermar’s development I mean I think he’s developed every year he’s been here, it’s obviously his third year here so it’s a big year for him, I do think he’s gotten better, more consistent, more dependable from my standpoint, and then we’ll give him a bunch of reps in the preseason and see what he does.”

As for all of these players, joint practices and the preseason will be key.


  • FB Jason Cabinda: 6 (no change)
  • TE James Mitchell: 7 (no change)
  • TE Shane Zylstra was removed from Bubble Watch (placed on IR)

The brutal injury to Zylstra didn’t move the needle on our bubble watch, but it’s worth pointing out just how much this organization liked him.

“He was a pivotal part of our success last year once we started turning the turn, and he just does everything right, man. He works, he’s a grinder and then this one happens and so – Harsh with him and honestly it shouldn’t have happened.”

Zylstra may have had an uphill battle to make the roster, but he was certainly a primary candidate to stick around on the practice squad at the very least. With him now gone, Mitchell has a firm grab on the TE3 spot, with his only competitors being two players who were added this past week (Darrell Daniels, Daniel Helm).

Wide receiver

  • Antoine Green: 6 (no change)
  • Denzel Mims: 5 (down 2)
  • Maurice Alexander: 1 (up 1)
  • Trinity Benson: 0 (no change)
  • New to Bubble Watch — Dylan Drummond (3 votes)

After a very strong week of camp, undrafted rookie Dylan Drummond makes his debut on the list, and he’s already garnered a few votes. This doesn’t quite feel like normal, every-year hype of an undrafted prospect. It’s not every season you hear the head coach say something like this about a guy who wasn’t signed until after rookie minicamp:

“He makes plays every day. He really, mentally, can play all the positions. He competes in special teams and I would say he’s hard to ignore. He’s just hard to ignore. He just – he’s continuing to climb the depth chart, so he’s doing exactly what a guy like him has to do. He’s doing everything right. He rarely messes something up and if he does, he learns from it, he grows and it doesn’t happen again, so he’s doing a good job.”

Drummond even got a ringing endorsement from Amon-Ra St. Brown, which should go a long way.

“He does everything right,” St. Brown said told the Detroit News. “He’s crafty, he’s a good route runner, understands the offense really well for only being here for OTAs through now. He’s right there with me, in terms of understanding almost everything.”

This position has also been severely impacted by injury. Bubble players like Tom Kennedy (IR), Trinity Benson (out about a week), and now Denzel Mims (severity unknown), it is the perfect opportunity for depth to stand out, and Drummond is clearly the one doing the most right now.

Offensive tackle

  • Matt Nelson: 3 (down 3)
  • Obinna Eze: 3 (up 1)
  • Germain Ifedi: 2 (down 1)

The offensive tackle battle is tightening, which should come as no surprise. Campbell even said last week that there has not been a single standout among the offensive line depth—which could explain why the team tried out a couple of offensive linemen over the weekend.

Eze is the biggest gainer this week amongst the group, as it’s clear he’s made a big step from his rookie training camp. That said, it’s still fair to question whether he’s anywhere close to Nelson and Ifedi, both of whom have a healthy amount of experience.

Interior offensive line

  • Colby Sorsdal: 7 (no change)
  • Kayode Awosika: 3 (up 2)
  • Ross Pierschbacher: 2 (down 1)

Sorsdal remains a pretty safe bet to make the roster. Meanwhile, Awosika makes a little jump here after taking most of his reps with the second-team offense. Meanwhile, Pierschbacher’s roster spot will be completely dependent on whether the Lions think having a third-string center is worth it. Graham Glasgow has been getting heavy work at center with Frank Ragnow in and out of the lineup, and that could spell bad news for Pierschbacher.

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