Way too early Detroit Lions 53-man roster prediction after Mandatory minicamp

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It’s about that time for the Detroit Lions to go on a hiatus until training camp opens up in late July. The Lions do have one more day of OTAs, but that will just be for the young players per Lions’ head coach Dan Campbell. The veterans have done their thing at mandatory minicamp and it’s time for a break. 

It’s also time to take another look at the Lions roster and make a way too early 53-man roster prediction. After OTAs and mandatory minicamp, there’s going to be some changes for sure. Here’s what we got:

Quarterback (2)

Starter: Jared Goff
Backup: Hendon Hooker

Out: Nate Sudfeld

Nothing changing here. Goff and Hooker remain the Lions two quarterbacks with Nate Sudfeld sticking with the team to be their practice squad guy. Still curious to see if they add a fourth guy during camp. Perhaps it could be a UFL guy. 

Running back (4)

Starters: Jahmyr Gibbs, David Montgomery
Backups: Sione Vaki, Craig Reynolds

Out:  Zonovan Knight, Jermar Jefferson, Jake Funk

Vaki is really coming along nicely, especially when it comes to catching the ball, but he still needs some time to find his footing as a running back. That time could allow the Lions to carry four running backs into the season instead of three like they did last year. Craig Reynolds had a decent showing at minicamp 

Wide receiver (6)

Starters: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams, Donovan Peoples-Jones
Backups: Kalif Raymond, Kaden Davis, Antoine Green

Out: Tre’Quan Smith, Jalon Calhoun, Tom Kennedy, Daurice Fountain, Maurice Alexander,

Kaden Davis was the star of OTA’s and minicamp. He seemingly made big play after big play all month long. Right now that’s going to give him a spot on the team. We’ll see what happens at training camp. Isaiah Williams has looked good too.

Tight ends (4)

Starter: Sam LaPorta
Backups: Brock Wright, Shane Zylstra, Sean McKeon

Out: Isaac Rex, James Mitchell, Parker Hesse

No change here from last time. I once again hated to make the call of letting James Mitchell go. At the end of the day the Lions have to make blocking a priority and as Dan Campbell said on Wednesday, the tight ends could play a role in the fullback spot. Sean McKeon brings better blocking and a better option at fullback than Mitchell does and Shane Zylstra has shown to be a more productive pass catcher. Mitchell would be a guy to keep on the practice squad for sure.

Offensive line (8)

Starters: Taylor Decker, Graham Glasgow, Frank Ragnow, Kevin Zeitler, Penei Sewell
Backups: Colby Sorsdal, Giovanni Manu, Christian Mahogany

Out: Dan Skipper, Kingsley Eguakun, Connor Galvin, Michael Niese, Netane Muti, Matt Farniok, Duke Clemmens, Bryan Hudson, Kayode Awosika

Carrying an extra running back spot meant that one of the positions had to cut down a spot. I had nine offensive linemen in previous installments, but we’re going down to eight here. This is the amount that the Lions carried into the regular season last year. 

Defensive line (10)

Starters: Aidan Hutchinson, Alim McNeil, DJ Reader, Marcus Davenport
Backups: Mehki Wingo, Levi Onwuzrukie, Brodric Martin, Mathieu Betts, Josh Paschal, James Houston

Out: John Cominsky, Isaac Ukwu, Nate Lynn, Chris Smith, Kyle Peko

This was a hard call. I had Onwuzurkie out in the previous installments, but he’s had a really good OTAs and minicamp. With the Lions moving both him and rookie Mehki Wingo to the outside a little, that made it slightly easier to cut John Cominsky. Even if I really didn’t want to do it.

Linebacker (5)

Starters: Alex Anzalone, Jack Campbell, Derrick Barnes
Backups: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Malcolm Rodriguez

Out: Mitchel Agude, DaRon Gilbert, Steele Chambers

Solid depth here. Steele Chambers has a shot to make the roster and Mitchell Agude does too, but at the end of the day, I had to go with the five guys we know are going to make an impact all year long. 

Cornerback (6)

Starters: Carlton Davis, Terrion Arnold, Ennis Rakestraw
Backups: Amik Robertson, Steven Gilmore, Khalil Dorsey

Out: Emmanuel Moseley, Kindle Vildor, Khalil Dorsey, Craig James, Morice Norris,

Dorsey had a really good minicamp that saw him pick off multiple passes and get a couple pick sixes as well. That performance was good enough for him to make the roster. He did have an injury on day two of minicamp, but it was minor per Dan Campbell. 

Safety (5)

Starters: Brian Branch, Ifeatu Melifonwu, Kerby Joseph
Backups: Brandon Joseph, C.J. Moore

Out: Chelan Garnes, Loren Strickland

Brian Branch is back at safety again and will take one of the starting spots. C.J. Moore is back as well and should get his roster spot back once things get going. Brandon Joseph has been showing out and playing with the ones due to guys being out with injuries. He’s earning that spot this year. 

Special teams (3)

Starters: James Turner, Jack Fox, Scott Daly

Out: Michael Badgley, Hogan Hatten

James Turner has been really good out there. He’s making the long kicks and the short ones too. Badgley, on the other hand, has been missing a lot of those kicks. That’s going to give Turner the upper hand after camp. 

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