The 53-man Detroit Lions roster’s prognosis includes No. 2 Aidan Hutchinson and a fight at wide receiver


The 53-man Detroit Lions roster's prognosis includes No. 2 Aidan Hutchinson and a fight at wide receiver

DETROIT — The Detroit Lions open the 2022 regular season against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 11 at Ford Field.

The Lions are trying to rebuild under coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes, both in their sophomore years. While there’s certainly competition between positional units, the Lions have committed to running back with their core from last season: quarterback Jared Goff, running back D’Andre Swift, tight end TJ Hockenson, receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and safety Tracy walker. They’ve also added young talent like No. 2 overall Aidan Hutchinson at the defensive end.

The receiving corps was one of the weak spots last season, but they beefed up the talent at the position. A few interesting names to watch out for during training camp are Trinity Benson and Quintez Cephus fighting for a spot at the receiver.

Quarterbacks (3): Jared Goff, David Blough, Tim Boyle

It’s clear Jared Goff is the guy for the Lions. Not looking for a quarterback in the draft was reassurance that the team signed him as a starter. The biggest question during training camp will be who can act as QB2, with substitutes Blough and Boyle looking to prove themselves again.

RUN BACK (4): D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, Craig Reynolds, Jason Cabinda (FB)

Both Swift and Williams are pretty much locks as running backs, having parted touches with their dual-threat skills last season. However, Swift has a history of groin and shoulder injuries, so they need to have solid backup options on deck. Reynolds has proven he can step up when needed, like last season when he rushed for nearly 200 yards from the practice team in back-to-back games.

WIDE RECEIVER (6): DJ Chark Jr., Josh Reynolds, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams, Quintez Cephus, Caliph Raymond

The receiving corps was often criticized for a lack of talent last season. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, they hit 24.5% of their tight goals last season, which was the third-worst in the NFL. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case early this season, especially with the addition of Chark, but everyone is also anticipating a big leap for St Brown in Year 2. Campbell has praised Trinity Benson for his hard work this offseason. but Quintez Cephus has proven his ability to make big plays and is likely to win the bid.

FIXED END (3): TJ Hockenson, Devin Funchess, James Mitchell

There isn’t much competition at this point as Hockenson returns as one of the faces of the franchise. Detroit made a surprise move by taking Devin Funchess, a former wide receiver, to the tight end that could add some additional playmaking to the offense. The Lions need to have depth in this role as Mitchell also has an ACL injury.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Penei Sewell, Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, Jonah Jackson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Evan Brown, Matt Nelson, Tommy Kraemer, Dan Skipper

Detroit’s offensive line is expected to be the roster’s bright spot. No wonder with these names. Sewell, the seventh pick in the 2021 draft, is expected to make a big leap this season after a promising rookie campaign. He’s surrounded by a crowd of veterans who help him on his way, like Decker and Ragnow. Now the device has to live up to the early hype.

DEFENSE LINE (9): Aidan Hutchinson, Michael Brockers, Romeo Okwara, Julian Okwara, Charles Harris, Alim McNeill, Levi Onwuzurike, James Houston, Josh Paschal

The Lions have finished in the bottom five in pressure percentage in each of the last six seasons over the past six seasons. They also ranked 29th in pressure percentage and 30th in sacks last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. So this is obviously a problem. With the addition of Hutchinson, the Lions have committed to improving on the fringes.

LINEBACKERS (5): Austin Bryant, Alex Anzalone, Derrick Barnes, Jarrad Davis, Malcolm Rodriguez

The Lions allowed 1,070 rush yards after first contact last season, which was the second-highest total for any team in the past 10 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Linebacker coach Kelvin Sheppard will be with his group to try and get the boys to improve in that area, with Anzalone and Barnes looking to be the leaders of the unit.

CORNERBACK (6): Jeff Okudah, Jerry Jacobs, Amani Oruwariye, Mike Hughes, Ifeatu Melifonwu, AJ Parker

All eyes will be on former No. 3 overall winner Okudah as he attempts to recover from a season-ending Achilles injury sustained last season. There are still many questions about who he is as an NFL-level player and Lions staff remain patient during his rehab process while also urging other guys like Jacobs and Oruwariye to improve.

SECURITY (5): Tracy Walker, Kerby Joseph, DeShon Elliott, Will Harris, CJ Moore

Walker strives to be the top safetyman on the roster, which is why he’s re-signed to a three-year, $25 million deal this offseason. Lions High School will also need help from others with safety. The Lions are the only team to have conceded 100 combined touchdowns over the past three seasons (102). They also intercepted 25 passes during that time, the fewest with the Raiders, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

SPECIALISTS (3): Scott Daly, Jack Fox, Austin Seibert

Fox was named a 2020 Pro Bowler at Punter and was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September 2020. He wants to lead this group with Daly on Long Snapper and Seibert on Kicker.

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