The preseason is finally over, the initial 53-man roster has been finalized, and now the Detroit Lions look forward to Sunday afternoon when they host the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 of the 2017 NFL regular season.
On Tuesday, the Lions football communications team released the Week 1 ‘unofficial’ depth chart and with multiple new starters, there are certainly some major differences from one year ago.
When looking at the Lions’ offensive depth chart, there really are not any surprises whatsoever. We have known for a while now that newly acquired offensive lineman Greg Robinson will be the starting left tackle in 2017. He gets the nod in place of 2016 first round pick Taylor Decker who is out of action while he rehabs his injured right shoulder.
Joining Robinson as newbies on the offensive line are T.J. Lang, who will start at right guard and Rick Wagner who will hold down the fort at right tackle. Lang and Wagner were both signed in the offseason and are expected to improve the overall ability of the offensive line immediately.
When the Lions drafted Jarrad Davis in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, he was immediately penciled in as the starting middle linebacker and that’s exactly where he will begin in Week 1. Joining Davis in the revamped Lions linebacking corp is Paul Worrilow, who signed with the team in March. Worrilow, who played with the Atlanta Falcons prior to coming to the Motor City, will be a starting outside linebacker.
It is also interesting to note that Cornelius Washington is listed ahead of Anthony Zettel as the starting defensive end opposite Ezekiel Ansah. That starting position opened up when Kerry Hyder, who broke onto the scene and led the Lions in sacks in 2016, injured his Achilles tendon in the first preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.
With Sam Martin being forced to miss Week 1 with injury, Kasey Redfern will be called upon to take over for one of the best, if not THE best punters in the NFL. This is a situation which is being overlooked by most, but what Martin did for the Lions last season in terms of flipping the field was invaluable. Redfern will certainly have his work cut out for him.