2017 Detroit Lions initial 53-man roster prediction

Don’t look now, but the NFL season is right around the corner! With training camp getting underway, we thought it would be fun to take a stab at what the Detroit Lions 53-man roster will look like when the regular season begins.

Keep in mind that this piece will be fluid and things could change if injuries occur, trades are made, or free agents are signed.

With that being said, let’s get started.


  1. Matthew Stafford
  2. Jake Rudock

There is almost no question about it that the Lions will roll with two quarterbacks this season. Matthew Stafford is obviously the starter as he heads into his 9th season in the league. The only question regarding this group of quarterbacks is who will win the backup job. The favorite has to be Jake Rudock, who was selected by the Lions in the 2016 NFL Draft while Brad Kaaya will likely end up being cut.


  1. Ameer Abdullah
  2. Theo Riddick
  3. Zach Zenner
  4. Matt Asiata

Other than signing Matt Asiata, Bob Quinn really did not do much to bolster the Lions running back situation. Quinn (along with myself) believes that Abdullah is capable of leading the way in the Lions backfield despite missing almost the entire 2016 season with an injury. Theo Riddick, who will primarily be in on passing downs, will also be looking to bounce back after missing some time last season while Zach Zenner has proven he can play in the league. The big question with this group is who the Lions keep as their No. 4 RB. The competition will be between Dwayne Washington, Matt Asiata, Mike James, and Tion Green with Washington and Asiata and Washington being the favorites to win the job. Personally, I believe that Asiata will make the roster because of his ability in short-yardage situations.


  1. Golden Tate
  2. Marvin Jones
  3. Kenny Golladay
  4. TJ Jones
  5. Jared Abbrederis

Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, and Kenny Golladay are the no-brainers in this group. After that, there will be a battle in training camp for the No. 4 and No. 5 spots. The Lions will likely keep two out of the following group: TJ Jones, Jared Abbrederis, Jace Billingsley, Dontez Ford, Keyshawn Martin, Noel Thomas, Ryan Spadola, and Michael Rector. Jones may have an upper hand for one spot because of his return ability but if he falters, Billingsley could slip in. Also, look for Abbrederis to really turn some heads this season if he can get on the same page as Matthew Stafford.


  1. Eric Ebron
  2. Darren Fells
  3. Michael Roberts
  4. Cole Wick

Eric Ebron is heading into his fourth season with the Lions and the heat has never been hotter than it is now. Despite improving in receptions and yards in each of his last two seasons, Ebron continues to be a lightning rod for Lions fans. I am calling it right now that Ebron has over 1,000 yards receiving this season and goes to the Pro Bowl.

Fells and Roberts are pretty much locked in to make the Lions roster this season, so the question will be whether or not they decide to keep three tight ends or four. With Quinn electing to cut FB Michael Burton in the offseason, the Lions may go with more two TE sets which is why I am leaning towards them keeping four tight ends.


*Note: With LT Taylor Decker likely starting the season on the PUP list, he will not be included on the 53-man roster at this time

  1. Rick Wagner (OT)
  2. T.J. Lang (OG)
  3. Travis Swanson (C)
  4. Graham Glasgow (OG)
  5. Greg Robinson (OT)
  6. Laken Tomlinson
  7. Cornelius Lucas
  8. Joe Dahl
  9. Cyrus Kouandijio

With Decker expected to miss significant time, he will not take up a roster spot, leaving one extra spot available. The starters on this list are pretty much set in stone and only real question will be if Corey Robinson can beat out Kouandijio for depth purposes. As of now, we are rolling with Cyrus.


  1. Ezekiel Ansah (DE)
  2. Kerry Hyder (DE)
  3. Haloti Ngata (DT)
  4. A’Shawn Robinson (DT)
  5. Anthony Zettel (DE)
  6. Cornelius Washington (DE)
  7. Akeem Spence (DT)
  8. Khyri Thornton (DT)
  9. Brandon Copeland (DE)
  10. Armonty Bryant (DE)

There are a few questions on the Lions defensive line. Can Ziggy Ansah return to form? Does Haloti Ngata have enough left in the tank to be productive? Will Kerry Hyder show that 2016 was not a fluke? Will A’Shawn Robinson take a step forward in his second year? Yep, you may have noticed that each of those questions refer to the Lions four starters on the defensive line, a position which Bob Quinn essentially ignored in the draft and free agency. Jeremiah Ledbetter, a 2017 draft pick, may be the odd man out here unless the Lions decide to go with 11 DL, which is very possible.


  1. Tahir Whitehead (OLB)
  2. Paul Worrilow (OLB)
  3. Jarrad Davis (MLB)
  4. Jalen Reeves-Maybin
  5. Antwionne Williams
  6. Steve Longa

Out of this group, Whitehead, Worrilow, and Davis are a lock to start Week 1 unless Whitehead’s injury keeps him from being ready for the start of the season. With two rookies (Davis and Reeves Maybin) in the mix, this group could be very interesting for the Lions. Not only this season but in the coming seasons.

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Defensive Backs (11)

  1. Darius Slay (CB)
  2. Nevin Lawson (CB)
  3. Teez Tabor (CB)
  4. Glover Quinn (FS)
  5. Tavon Wilson (SS)
  6. Miles Killebrew (S)
  7. Don Carey (S)
  8. DJ Hayden (CB)
  9. Jamal Agnew (CB)
  10. Johnson Bademosi (CB)
  11. Quandre Diggs (CB)

There is no question about it that Darius Slay, Glover Quinn, and Tavon Wilson will be starters. After that, there will be some serious competition, which is a good thing. I really think that Lawson will start over Tabor, at least in Week 1 unless Tabor has an amazing camp. The one player I am really excited about is Jamal Agnew because of his return abilities.

Special Teams (3)

  1. Matt Prater (K)
  2. Sam Martin (P)
  3. Don Muhlbach (LS)

This is probably the easiest group to predict at this point, especially after the Lions decided to part ways with LS Jimmy Landes in favor of the veteran Don Muhlbach. Prater and Martin are two of the best in the game at their positions and will continue to be in 2017.


Written by Don Drysdale

I am a fan of all Detroit sports and LOVE to write about them!

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