Which Lions defensive players are roster locks?

In my view, Buggs, Harris, and Romeo Okwara are virtual locks.

Okwara re-negotiated his base salary down to $2 Million guaranteed with a $500K per game roster bonus

Harris re-negotiated his base salary down to $3 Million guaranteed with a $500K per game roster bonus.

Absent a season-ending injury or demonstrated severe performance decline, there’s no benefit to cutting either.

Buggs is the likely starter opposite McNeil.

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From the article:
DL- Aidan Hutchinson, Alim McNeill, Josh Paschal, John Cominsky, Isaiah Buggs, Brodric Martin. 6 guys. The article doesn’t include Buggs s a lock but I think he is a lock.
Edge: Charles Harris, Romeo Okwara, Julian Okwara and James Houston. 4 guys.
LBers- Alex Anzalone, Jack Campbell, Derrick Barnes, James Houston, Malcolm Rodriguez. 5 guys.
CB- Cam Sutton, Jerry Jacobs, Emmanuel Moseley. 3 guys.
Safety- Tracy Walker, Kerby Joseph, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Brian Branch. 4 guys.

That is 22 dudes. The Lions likely keep 22-25 defensive players. I think CB needs 1 or two more bodies. I think Will Harris, Chase Lucas end up making the team AND 1 more DT (Christian Covington OR Benito Jones).

Chase Lucas, Will Harris and Christian Covington would take the defensive # to 25 and that feels about right to me.

That leaves guys like Julian Okwara, DT Benito Jones and DT Christian Covington needing a great camp or an injury.

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He’s a lock, not only is his $1.1M base salary cheap, it is also fully guaranteed. Will Harris is a lock too, his salary is guaranteed. The Lions knew the players that they were guaranteeing this money too . . . this isn’t a Breshard Perriman situation.

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This is a really poorly written piece by Risdon and it’s clear he didn’t take into consideration salary costs and the different packages we run.

@DeadStroke can pipe in and best explain from a cap perspective who are the most likely locks but from a package perspective I think I can shed some light.

IDL - We likely carry 5 interior DL and the big question is at NT. Alim has had struggles at NT and has had his best games when he played as a 3T. Last year the Lions moved Buggs primarily to NT and freed up Alim to be a pass rusher. Then drafted Martin whom is very raw and will also compete on the inside.

But for me what I noticed last year was the switch from two gap to single gap concepts. Then we bring in Fox in the offseason who is known for single gap concepts.

We also added Benito last year and Covington this year. Both guys are gap disrupters and are best when crashing gaps. We have been seeing the switch to more one gap concepts. Which means we should be needing less true NT types.

@ NT you have Buggs, Alim and Martin. I would say Martin is the odd guy out here but I think they could keep all 3. Benito can play NT but is best crashing a gap. I think Benito ends up on the PS.

@ 3T you have Levi, Covington …. Alim played a lot of snaps at 3T last year and I suspect he’s gravitating towards that role. Will Levi make it or is he done?

@ DE we have Hutch, Cominsky and Paschal

@ Rush LB we Harris, Houston and ROkwara

@ SLB You have Houston and the two Okwara boys.

@ Stack LBer we have Harris, Barnes and Rodrigo

@ MLB we have Campbell, Barns and Pittman

@ WLB we have Anzalone, Rodrigo and JRM.

These are who we use for the various packages and where we’ve used them in the past.

I suspect we carry 10 DL and 5-6 LBers to run our front 7 packages. So of the 15-16 guys who is the most likely?

I think Levi or Covington make it but not both.

So of the 14 remaining these 13 are likely locks - Hutch, Paschal, Cominsky, Harris, Barnes, Rodrigo, Anzalone, Houston, ROkwara, Buggs, Alim, Martin, Campbell.

That leaves JRM, Pittman or Julian getting the last spot or two.

That leaves 10-11 spots for the back end too.

I suspect that’s how we will look at it.

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It’s just so hard to predict, until we see how we get through training camp and preseason injury wise.

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