Twentyman: Breaking down the 53-man roster

Posted Aug 31, 2013

The Lions' roster is set (for now). Take a look at a position-by-position breakdown.

One of the favorite lines of Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is that there's never a finish line when it comes to improving the roster.

That's includes days like Saturday, too, when the Lions had to trim their roster down from 75 to 53.

That's 53 players today. Tomorrow, Monday, and even during the week, as the team prepares for it's season opener vs. Minnesota, the roster is always in flux.

But for now, the Lions have their 53.

Here they are:

Quarterbacks (3)

Matthew Stafford, Shaun Hill, Kellen Moore

Twentyman: The Lions like to keep three quarterbacks and Kellen Moore did more than enough this preseason to show he deserves an NFL gig. Hill, who is one of the best backups in the NFL, is also in the final year of his contract.

Running backs (5)

Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, Mikel Leshoure, Theo Riddick, Montell Owens

Twentyman: The top three were never really a doubt. Riddick has been impressive through training camp and the preseason and coaches love the versatility he gives them as a very good receiver. He could also be in the mix to return kicks. Owens, who is a core special-teamer, could headed to the short-term injured reserve list later this week.

Wide receivers (6)

Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Ryan Broyles, Patrick Edwards, Micheal Spurlock, Kris Durham

Twentyman: The top four spots have been pretty well set for weeks. It was that fifth or sixth spot that was always the question mark. Matt Willis made a pretty good case for the job in the preseason, but in the end, Spurlock's ability to cover and return kicks won him the job. Expect rookie sixth-round pick Corey Fuller to make the practice squad if he clears waivers Sunday.

Tight ends (3)

Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler, Joseph Fauria

Injured reserve: Michael Williams

Twentyman: Williams, a seventh-round pick, was expected to get plenty of time as an extra blocker this fall but will sit his rookie season out after breaking his hand. The Lions play a lot of two-tight end sets and Fauria played well enough this preseason to show coaches he can help them, especially in the red zone.

Offensive line (9)

Riley Reiff, Jason Fox, Corey Hilliard, LaAdrian Waddle, Dominic Raiola, Rob Sims, Larry Warford, Dylan Gandy, Leroy Harris

Twentyman: The Lions starting offensive line vs. Minnesota will be Reiff, Sims, Raiola, Warford and Fox. Waddle has been very impressive so far and is on a very nice trend to helping this team sooner rather than later. Gandy and Harris won the backup guard spots because of their ability to also play center. Look for Rodney Austin to be a practice squad candidate.

Defensive line (9)

Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, C.J. Mosley, Justin Bannan, Jason Jones, Ziggy Ansah, Willie Young, Israel Idonije and Devin Taylor

Twentyman: No surprises here. When the Lions signed Bannan a couple weeks ago, that pretty much solidified the unit. This might be the most talented and explosive position on the team.

Linebackers (6)

Stephen Tulloch, DeAndre Levy, Ashlee Palmer, Tahir Whitehead, Travis Lewis, Rocky McIntosh

Twentyman: The Lions will get plenty of special teams contributions from Whitehead, Lewis and McIntosh. Palmer has won the third linebacker job, but expect the Lions to be in the nickel about 50 percent of the time this year.

Defensive backs (9)

Chris Houston, Darius Slay, Bill Bentley, Rashean Mathis, Jonte Green, Glover Quin, Louis Delmas, Don Carey and John Wendling

Twentyman: The Lions typically keep more defensive backs than this, but Mathis provides them a two-for-one player. His ability to play cornerback, safety and in the nickel made safety Tyrell Johnson expendable and gave the team another roster spot somewhere else. It was mildly surprising that both Ron Bartell and Chris Greenwood were cut, but coaches simply hadn't seen enough from them over the last month to warrant their inclusion on the roster. Look for Greenwood to join the practice squad.

Specialists (3)

David Akers (K), Sam Martin (P), Don Muhlbach (LS)

Twentyman: This has been pretty cut and dry all training camp.