Matt Patricia led the Detroit Lions to a respectable start to the 2019 NFL season. However, it all quickly unraveled when quarterback Matthew Stafford went down with a back injury. The team went 0-9 down the stretch, which led them to the No. 3 overall selection. Detroit is relying on a lot of new pieces in what could be Patricia's final season as head coach.
CBS Sports examined the roster to isolate the players set to take on the largest roles. For the purpose of this depth chart projection, we will be projecting up to the top four at any given position. The Lions will carry 90 players until forced to settle on the 53-man roster.
Rookies will be denoted with a (*).
|QB||Matthew Stafford||Chase Daniel||David Blough|
|RB||D'Andre Swift*||Kerryon Johnson||Bo Scarbrough||Ty Johnson|
|LWR||Kenny Golladay||Marvin Hall||Jamal Agnew |
|RWR||Marvin Jones||Geronimo Allison|
|SWR||Danny Amendola||Quintez Cephus*|
|TE||T.J. Hockenson||Jesse James||Isaac Nauta||Hunter Bryant*|
|LT||Taylor Decker||Tyrell Crosby|| |
|LG||Joe Dahl||Logan Stenberg*|| |
|C||Frank Ragnow||Russell Bodine||Beau Benzschawel|
|RG||Jonah Jackson*||Oday Aboushi||Josh Garnett|| |
|RT||Halapoulivaati Vaitai||Dan Skipper|| |
Detroit looked like they could be a problem in the NFC North last season until an injury to quarterback Matthew Stafford derailed their season. If Stafford is able to heal properly, then the team should return to a competitive form.
It was a bit surprising that general manager Bob Quinn used a second-round pick on running back D'Andre Swift. Personally, I believe in the talent and know that he can make a difference in that organization. However, many would argue that the team had bigger needs, and there is no disagreement on this end. Running back should be solidified with the addition. Kerryon Johnson may be listed as the starter initially but that will be short-lived with Swift in tow.
The Lions have some gifted pass catchers in the form of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson. Stafford will have plenty of options to push the ball downfield. The primary concern is whether or not he will have the time to disseminate the football.
Detroit moved on from Ricky Wagner at right tackle and brought in Halapoulivaati Vaitai from Philadelphia. Offensive line coach Hank Fraley knows a thing or two about interior offensive line play, which is important as the team integrates two rookies -- Logan Stenberg and Jonah Jackson -- into the rotation. Taylor Decker returns as the starting left tackle.
|DE||Da'Shawn Hand ||Nick Williams||Jashon Cornell*|
|NT||Danny Shelton||John Atkins||Olive Sagapolu|
|DE||Trey Flowers||Austin Bryant |
|OLB||Romeo Okwara ||Julian Okwara* |
|ILB||Christian Jones ||Jahlani Tavai || Elijah Lee |
|ILB||Jarrad Davis||Reggie Ragland |
|OLB||Jamie Collins ||Jalen Reeves-Maybin |
|LCB||Desmond Trufant||Amani Oruwariye|
|RCB||Jeff Okudah*||Darryl Roberts|
|FS||Tracy Walker||Jayron Kearse||Jeremiah Dinson*|
|SS||Duron Harmon||Miles Killebrew||Jalen Elliott*|
The defense has to come together this offseason and they have to do it without the familiar faces of Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs. The veteran defensive backs were traded over the past year. Julian Okwara was drafted to compete with his brother, Romeo Okwara, on the edge. Trey Flowers will occupy the starting role opposite him. Nose tackle Danny Shelton comes over from New England where he had occupied interior blockers. The specific roles will be in flux for the defensive front seven, but Da'Shawn Hand and Nick Williams should battle for the fourth spot on the line in 4-3 looks or an end spot in 3-4 looks.
Linebacker is another spot that appears to be up in the air. Jamie Collins is a chess piece who can be deployed at different spots but his main role could come on the edge. Jarrad Davis and Christian Jones are set to start but Jahlani Tavai is a young player on the rise who could lock up a starting spot before long as well.
The-new look secondary is led by veteran Desmond Trufant and rookie Jeff Okudah at cornerback. Justin Coleman, formerly of the Seahawks, is set to take the field for nickel packages. Tracy Walker and Duron Harmon are expected to start at safety but Jayron Kearse may provide some competition when he returns from suspension. Rookies Jeremiah Dinson and Jalen Elliott have some intriguing traits that could make them appealing depth candidates.
|P||Jack Fox||Arryn Siposs*|
|LS||Steve Wirtel*||Don Muhlbach|
|KR||Jamal Agnew||Jason Huntley*|
Matt Prater is entering his 14th season kicking in the NFL and seventh with the Lions. Rookie punter Arryn Siposs will compete with Jack Fox, who joined the program last offseason. The team also brought in long snapper Steve Wirtel. Generally, teams do not use an extra training camp spot on a long snapper so it seems inevitable that Wirtel will ultimately overtake the incumbent Don Muhlbach.