The talk of the Detroit Lions right now is mainly about what the Lions can still do to improve their roster. They cut a few guys that have been around the locker room for a while, and that does not set well with a lot of fans. People are wondering what is going on with the Lions, and what they plan on doing to fix up their roster even more. The Lions released their 53-man roster yesterday, but that does not mean that Detroit will go into week one with the same roster they have today.
Two of the biggest names cut on Saturday were Kris Durham and Mikel LeShoure. The Lions have been known to have great depth at both positions, but if one thing surprises me it is the fact that the Lions kept two fullbacks. I’m not convinced that there will be two fullbacks on the roster at the beginning of the season. The Lions tried bringing in Emil Igwenagu off of waivers to compete at fullback, but he only stuck around for about a week. If this tells me anything, it is that Detroit is still unsure of their fullbacks’ blocking skills, and that one of them will likely win the job in practice.
If the Detroit Lions do decide to trim the roster by one, then they have an opportunity to go after some more help in the secondary. The Lions would not be a great fit for veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, but if he replaces a backup fullback I can’t say that I will be too sad. Bailey is not going to make the Lions a better pass defending team right now, but he could be a great presence for guys like Darius Slay, Nevin Lawson, and Bill Bentley to learn from.
Another defensive back that was surprisingly cut by the Denver Broncos is safety Duke Ihenacho. He was a very solid safety throughout the 2013 season, and he can get down on special teams, too. The only game that Ihenacho was noticeably struggling in was the Super Bowl, which could have been the big red flag for Denver. Ihenacho is younger than Champ Bailey, and he could help the Lions on defense this season. Detroit needs another solid all-around defensive back, and coincidentally Duke Ihenacho is on the market.
The Lions decided to keep Kellen Moore on the roster as their number three quarterback. This is a move that has surprised a lot of people, considering Moore was practice squad eligible. Detroit was either very concerned that Moore would not clear waivers, or they have a plan for their talented third stringer. There are a few rumors that the Lions are considering shopping Kellen Moore for some help on defense, but this is purely speculation at this point. Moore does have trade value, but he has shown the Lions that he also has value within their organization. Kellen Moore was very efficient in moving the Lions offense down the field, and he even did most of the work in the Lions 23-0 preseason victory over the Buffalo Bills.
Everybody loves throwing the Michael Sam name around, and the kid really is a good pass rusher. The problem with the Lions making a play for Sam is that they don’t really need another outside linebacker, or a defensive end. Michael Sam was cut for a reason, and there is nothing that says he could improve the Lions roster. At this point, the Lions going after Michael Sam is highly unlikely.
A less intriguing, but more likely option for the Lions is cornerback Leon McFadden. He was released by the Cleveland Browns, but he is only a second year player. The Browns drafted McFadden in the 3rd round of 2013, so seeing him get cut is kind of shocking. Although there is need for improvement in his game, he is definitely a player that has a lot of growing to do. Without a doubt, Leon McFadden has a good chance of making a good defensive back, in the future.
The Lions needs are fairly simple to understand. They did a good job on the offensive and defensive line, and their running game looked good. The Detroit wide receivers have talent for days, and the Lions’ linebackers are getting the job done thus far. The one hole on this team is still the secondary. Although the Lions defensive backs look the best they have been in quite some time, one more solid piece could finish the puzzle.