5 Detroit Lions Roster Battles: Final Predictions
On Friday night, the Detroit Lions will take on the Carolina Panthers in their final preseason game of the season. Though we are just four days away from Cut Day, where the Lions will have to trim their roster from their current 89 players down to 53 players, there are still some roster battles yet to be officially settled. Those positions include wide receiver, running back, defensive end, cornerback, and kicker.
No. 3 Running Back
When the Detroit Lions re-signed Justin Jackson, it seemed like he was pretty much a lock for the No. 3 running back gig. Well, that was then and this is now, and with Jackson retiring, the job is up for grabs. Craig Reynolds, Devine Ozigbo, and Benny Snell are still in the running for the RB 3 spot on the final 53-man roster, and it seems like Reynolds is currently leading the way.
Winner: Craig Reynolds
No. 5 (and No. 6) Wide Receiver
I am telling you right now, the Lions depth at the wide receiver position scares the crap out of me. If Amon-Ra St. Brown were to go down with an injury, there really would not be anyone who could step up. Because of that, I still think the Lions will either trade for a receiver or sign a player who gets cut, prior to the start of the 2023 season. But, until that happens, it will be Dylan Drummond, Chase Cota, Trinity Benson, Antoine Green, and Maurice Alexander battling for the No. 5 (and No. 6 if they keep six) wide receiver spots.
Winner(s): Antoine Green (No. 5) and Dylan Drummond (No. 6)
It feels odd to say this, but the Detroit Lions actually have some decent depth along their defensive line. Because of that, some solid players could either be cut or traded in order to establish the 53-man roster. Those battling for the final spots are Romeo and Julian Okwara, Benito Jones, Christian Covington, and Levi Onwuzurike.
Winner(s): Levi Onwuzurike, Benito Jones, and Romeo Okwara
This is all about special teams value and the final spots will likely go to Steven Gilmore, Ifeatu Melifonwu, or Khalil Dorsey. As noted by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: “The Lions should be able to sneak several of their defensive backs through waivers. They could prefer to keep Melifonwu for now rather than cut him with an injury designation and not be able to bring him back until after the settlement expires.”
Winner(s): Steven Gilmore and Ifeatu Melifonwu
I thought about leaving this battle off the list since, at least in my mind, it has been over for quite a while now. Technically, Riley Patterson and Parker Romo are still on the roster and competing for the gig, but in reality, Patterson seems to be the leader in the clubhouse.
Winner: Riley Patterson
Bottom Line: Worth the Watch
Though Lions head coach Dan Campbell has not officially made an announcement, during his last press conference, he made it sound as if the starters would not be playing against the Carolina Panthers on Friday night. With that being said, there are multiple position battles still up for grabs, which means watching tonight's game will be worthwhile for die-hard Lions fans.