By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – The Detroit Lions released their first depth chart Tuesday night.
The offensive starters are basically as expected: Matthew Stafford at quarterback, Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate at wide receiver, Reggie Bush at running back, Montell Owens at fullback, Brandon Pettigrew at tight end and the offensive line from last season intact – Riley Reiff at left tackle, Rob Sims at left guard, Dominic Raiola at center, Larry Warford at right guard and LaAdrian Waddle at right tackle.
Waddle, a rookie last season, has evidently gotten the nod so far over veteran Corey Hilliard, whom Waddle replaced midseason last year after an injury felled Hilliard. Pettigrew will start despite some early speculation he might be replaced by first-round pick Eric Ebron. As of Tuesday, Ebron was listed as the third-string tight end behind Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria.
On defense, Ezekiel Ansah – who is still on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list – is listed as starting at defensive end along with Jason Jones, who is returning from missing most of the 2013 season due to injury. Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh are the defensive tackles, predictably, and Ashlee Palmer, Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy are still listed as the starting linebackers. Rashean Mathis and Darius Slay are the starting cornerbacks, and James Ihedigbo and Glover Quin will start at safety.
Nate Freese is the starting kicker, and Jeremy Ross will return kicks and punts.
Looking farther down the depth chart on the offensive side, Kris Durham and Jeremy Ross are listed as second and third behind Johnson, while Kevin Ogletree and Ryan Broyles are listed second and third behind Tate.
The second-string offensive line includes two rookies in left tackle Cornelius Lucas and center Travis Swanson, and also in that group are left guard Rodney Austin, right guard Garrett Reynolds and right tackle Corey Hilliard. Dan Orlovsky is listed as the backup to Stafford, and Joique Bell and Mikel Leshoure are listed as second and third behind Bush. Jed Collins is the backup fullback.
Defensively, Darryl Tapp and Devin Taylor are listed as the second-string defensive ends, while C.J. Mosley and Andre Fluellen will be the backup defensive tackles. Kyle Van Noy is listed behind Palmer, while Travis Lewis and Tahir Whitehead are the backups to Tulloch and Levy, respectively. Bill Bentley will back up Mathis, and Cassius Vaughn is second-string behind Slay. DeJon Gomes is listed as the backup strong safety, with Don Carey the second-string free safety.
One player of note who is listed farther down the depth chart is running back Theo Riddick, who has received plenty of positive reviews during the team’s offseason work. Riddick is currently on the fourth string. Fifth-round pick Caraun Reid is listed third behind Fairley and Fluellen at defensive tackle, and fourth-round pick Nevin Lawson is third behind Mathis and Bentley at cornerback.