Many of you have been following the roster cuts this weekend and probably have some questions regarding some of the cuts. Some of them are obvious and some of them were surprises. Below I will break down each cut and why the move was made. Overall I feel like the decisions made this year were for the betterment of the team where in prior years some of the moves were questionable at best.
RB Mikel Leshoure – Leshoure was expected to be cut after falling out of the depth chart last season and performing terribly this past offseason. He could not seem to put it all together and looks to have lost a step from his Achilles injury. The truth of the matter is that Leshoure should have been cut last year. His signature move was to run into the pile and wait to be tackled. Occasionally he would find a gaping hole left by the offensive line and would get a few yards. In preseason though, when he did but a decent run, he followed it up with a costly fumble.
C Darren Keyton – Keyton was a camp body. He was never expected to make the team given that they just drafted Travis Swanson. If an injury happens, he could be re-signed but that is unlikely.
DE Daryl Tapp – Tapp was a bit of a surprise. He was signed due to his versatility. He can play linebacker and defensive end. He fit the style that Teryl Austin wanted for his defense. The problem is, the linebackers stepped up making him a defensive end and the emergence of Larry Webster and George Johnson at defensive end made him expendable.
DB Nate Ness – Ness had a great preseason for the short period of time he was here. He was never expected to land a spot given the competition for the position but he was expected to make the practice squad. He definitely earned his spot on the practice squad and likely was cut due to that eligibility.
LG Garrett Reynolds – Reynolds outplayed Rodney Austin and was a bubble player. If they chose to keep 9 offensive linemen he would have likely been that 9th guy. Unfortunately, they chose to go with 8 so they could keep Kellen Moore on the roster.
LB Brandon Hepburn – Hepburn is still not ready for the active roster. He was more or less playing for the ability to land on the practice squad again.
CB Mohammed Seisay – He also earned himself a practice squad spot in the preseason. He was never seriously in the conversation for a 6th corner spot should the team decide they wanted 6.
LB Shamari Benton – Benton was a depth player for when Kyle Van Noy went down with an injury. He was never expected to make the team.
WR Kris Durham – Durham played with the first team every time Calvin Johnson missed a game. He was thought to be one of the guarantees although far from a lock. Unfortunately for him, Ryan Broyles and Corey Fuller wanted to make the team more than Durham did. Fortunately for him, he was claimed by Tennessee.
LT Michael Williams – He was a bubble player, but not due to performance. He could have been an active roster player, but was directly competing with Cornelius Lucas who the team really liked. Lucas likely would have been claimed if waived and Williams was not claimed. He was cut likely due to the ease of getting him on the practice squad.
RB George Winn – Winn had a good showing in camp. He looked to be a solid running back. He even was considered a bubble player even though no one expected the team to keep 4 running backs this year. He had fumble issues which likely led to his departure from the active roster, but his ability caused him to get a practice squad spot. The team likes his ability should Joique Bell go down for any reason.
TE Michael Egnew – Egnew was more or less a tryout player. He was cut by another team and the Lions wanted to see what he had. They had apparently seen enough to not sign him to the practice squad.
CB Chris Greenwood – He was one of the more interesting cuts. He seemed to be playing better and the thought was if they kept 6 corners, he would be the 6th. The problem though was that he was in his third year and still not there. Martin Mayhew said once that if a corner does not get it by year 3, he wont ever get it. That was evident in his decision to cut Greenwood and not add him to the practice squad.
OG Rodney Austin – Austin was also thought to be on the bubble. The team could have kept him as lineman 9 but chose to part ways. It is likely that his availability for the practice squad helped that decision as that is where he ended up.
WR Patrick Edwards – Edwards had his shot last season to make an impact and he looked terrible. They likely kept him around this offseason to see if he has improved yet and he has not.
WR Andrew Peacock – Peacock likely would have made the team had it not been so crowded with solid players. He made the practice squad after a good preseason but the emergence of Ryan Broyles and Corey Fuller made his shot at the active roster too difficult.
TE Jordan Thompson – Thompson came into a bad situation. He signed with a team that had re-signed their tight end to a 4 year deal, drafted a tight end in the first round, and returned an undrafted free agent who scored a ridiculous number of touchdowns last year. He never had a shot to make the team but landed on the practice squad.
FB Emil Igwenagu – He, like Egnew, was a tryout player that was never going to make the team. They wanted to see if he had practice squad ability. He proved enough to them to sign on the practice squad.
DT Andre Fluellen – Fluellen has been around the team off and on for years. He will likely be back later in the season if injuries catch up with the Lions. He is not yet good enough for the active roster, but is not eligible for practice squad either.
DT Xavier Proctor – Proctor was never going to make the team either. He is a developmental player that they like and added to the practice squad. He could possibly get a roster spot next year depending on who stays at the defensive tackle position with Mosely, Fairley, and Suh all up for free agency.
DT Jimmy Sadler-McQueen – Sadler-McQueen was another player who was fighting for a roster spot but had no chance to make the team. He will likely be considered for a spot later in the season if the injury bug hits.
LB Julian Stanford – Stanford was a player they acquired late last season and spent time evaluating. He likely would have made the team if they were thin at the linebacker position but Tahir Whitehead stepped up in a big way. Stanford was signed to the practice squad though for future development.