The Detroit Lions have become a preseason media darling thanks to their appearance on the popular HBO show ‘Hard Knocks,’ which has followed and chronicled the team’s training camp performances in the lead-up to the 2022-2023 season.
The Lions finished 1-2 over their three preseason games, beating the Indianapolis Colts while losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons.
On Tuesday, August 30, the Lions released their initial 53-man roster, and there were several surprising decisions attached to it, including the decision to cut popular free agent acquisition and veteran Justin Jackson in favor of second year player Jermar Jefferson.
Grading the Lions’ 53-Man Roster
Sports Illustrated writer Vito Chirco released an article grading the Lions on their final decisions and overall roster strength.
According to Chirco, the Lions appear weak at a handful of different positions.
“When looking at the rest of the Lions’ season-opening roster, the team appears to be weak at backup quarterback (David Blough) and on the defensive side of the ball, specifically at linebacker and in the secondary,” Chirco said.
The Lions cut backup quarterback Tim Boyle following their final preseason game against the Steelers, after Boyle threw for just 64 yards on 5-of-15 passing to go with zero touchdowns and one interception.
Chirco added that the Lions may have issues at the linebacker position despite the unexpected preseason emergence of rookie linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, who was drafted in the sixth round.
I don’t exactly trust the team’s linebacking unit, spearheaded by Alex Anzalone, Derrick Barnes and Malcolm Rodriguez. It doesn’t exactly possess a bonafide play-making linebacker.
He added that secondary depth and playmaking ability is also a concern, especially since former number three overall pick Jeff Okudah has yet to prove himself as a star player in the defensive backfield.
Even with these concerns, Chirco still gave the Lions a ‘B’ grade on their preseason roster, saying that the team has improved greatly in numerous areas.
Despite all of that being said, Detroit’s roster is still vastly improved — especially at wide receiver and EDGE rusher (via the addition of 2022 No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson), Chirco said.
“When compared to last season’s.”