Here’s my guess at what the Lions 53-man roster could look like, when the final roster cut-down takes place on Saturday.
Quarterback : Matthew Stafford, Shaun Hill, Drew Stanton
This one was pretty easy to figure out. Zac Robinson will likely end up on the practice squad, if he’s eligible.
Running Back : Jahvid Best, Maurice Morris, Jerome Harrison, Aaron Brown, Joe Jon Finley
Brown, in my opinion, locked up a spot on the roster with his speed – a dimension missing at this position – and his solid work in pre-season games against Cleveland and New England. Finley gets the nod as the FB, beating out Jerome Felton. It wouldn’t shock me, however, if the Lions hit the waiver wire to find running back help……which could make it an interesting weekend for Harrison and Finley.
Wide Receiver : Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Titus Young, Stefan Logan, Maurice Stovall, Rashied Davis
Stovall and Davis make the final roster for their consistent play on offense and on special teams during training camp and the pre-season. Tough to leave Nate Hughes – who’s played well – off this list, but he gets squeezed out in a numbers game.
Offensive Line : Jeff Backus, Rob Sims, Dominic Raiola, Stephen Peterman, Gosder Cherilus, Corey Hilliard, Jason Fox, Rudy Niswanger, Donald Thomas
This – like at running back – is an area that could see some turnover, when final roster cuts are made on Saturday. The starters – plus Hilliard and Fox – are locks. Niswanger and Thomas make the roster because (a) they’re versatile and (b) they’ve outlasted the competition.
Defensive Line : Cliff Avril, Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Nick Fairley, Sammie Lee Hill, Willie Young, Lawrence Jackson, Andre Fluellen
A good training camp and pre-season allowed Young to move into the Lions defensive line rotation. By the way, don’t expect Fairley to automatically move into the starting lineup when healthy. Corey Williams plays off Suh well, and he’s been lights out in the pre-season.
Linebackers : Stephen Tulloch, DeAndre Levy, Justin Durant, Bobby Carpenter, Ashlee Palmer, Isaiah Ekijuba
Tough to leave fifth-round pick Doug Hogue off the list, but he’s been inconsistent during training camp, which leaves him on pace to be on the practice squad. Special teams play will keep Palmer and Ekijuba on the final 53-man roster.
Defensive Backs : Chris Houston, Eric Wright, Louis Delmas, Amari Spievey, Eric Berry, Alphonso Smith, Erik Coleman, Brandon McDonald, Ricardo Silva
Silva is the biggest surprise of this group, but he earns the nod for the final roster spot based on his solid play during training camp and the pre-season. Tough to leave Nathan Vasher off the list, but like Nate Hughes, he falls victim to the numbers game.
Special Teams : Don Muhlbach, Jason Hanson, John Wendling, Ryan Donahue
Wendling goes here, because he’s a key special teams contributor who can play at safety, if needed. Donahue – the rookie from Iowa – gets the surprising nod at punter over the incumbent Nick Harris.