Saturday, May 14, 2016

8 Days Later

In the past 8 days the Detroit Lions have made a number of moves other then the undrafted players I mentioned already (and the 10 draft picks, who they have already got signed)... they are:

05/05/2016 The Detroit Lions sign WR Andre Caldwell, release C Darren Keyton.
05/08/2016 The Detroit Lions sign offensive lineman Darius Johnson, waive offensive tackle Tyrus Thompson.
05/09/2016 The Detroit Lions acquire linebacker Jon Bostic via trade from the New England Patriots.
05/13/2016 The Detroit Lions sign defensive lineman Louis Palmer, release offensive tackle Lamar Holmes.

and on the 6th of May the Lions officially signed their undrafted players, that transaction report looked like this:

05/06/2016 The Detroit Lions sign corner back Adairius Barnes, wide receiver Jace Billingsley, wide receiver Quinshad Davis, defensive end James DeLoach, guard Chase Farris, tight end Adam Fuehne, defensive end Deonte Gibson, wide receiver Jay Lee, defensive back Charles Washington, corner back Ian Wells, tight end Cole Wick and guard Andrew Zeller.

What did they trade to the Patriots for that linebacker? The conditional 7th round pick they received from the Patriots last year when the Lions traded away their tight end turned offensive tackle Mike Williams.

Obviously the Lions have been very busy since the draft, and may continue to be busy revamping the roster, so much so that some of what I write will likely be obsolete before I finish my series of blog entries. I'll have to update on the fly or else I'll never get this finished.

Anyway, I did complete some work on my estimated depth chart and my salary cap chart (perma-links to both are in the menu to the right). Now I will use the information on those two charts and elsewhere to take on a position group at a time. First up... Quarterback.

Matthew Stafford will of course remain the starter (barring injury... knock on wood) and the Lions already signed Dan Orlovsky on a 1 year vet minimum deal to back him up. After that the Lions drafted Jake Rudock as their first pick in round 6. The Lions also have just completed their rookie OTA (Organized Team Activity) and did not bring in a 4th QB. This is significant as usually a 4th arm would be in camp now (under previous regimes) in order for him to not be lost. You would normally expect him signed sooner rather then later so he can begin learning the playbook. Since the Lions opted not to sign a 4th arm it's possible they will be going with 3 for the upcoming OTAs and summer camp. The question is, are they going to keep 3 or just 2 when they go into the season. The answer is, that depends on Rudock's progress. With only 3 camp arms Rudock will be getting more reps then normal, which suggests that if he does progress enough it could be Orlovsky who is competing against the rest of the roster for a spot on the 53. Rudock may also be Orlovsky's replacement... NEXT year... should the Lions decide he needs more then a few months to be the sole backup quarterback, thus keeping 3 on the roster. There is also the possibility that Rudock doesn't progress at all, in which case Orlovsky stays on as the backup and Rudock ends up gone entirely or on the practice squad. By having all their options open the bases are fairly well covered, the ruthless part of it (the cuts) will happen after more info is garnered.

Speaking of "more info" I would recommend everyone read the following link; I would also recommend that if you read my take on the pick immediately after day 3 of the draft that you also read my follow up entry, since one is very critical of the pick and the other is nearly a reversal of that opinion. There are a lot of draft profiles out there on Rudock (well, all players really) but the link above is based mostly on film review and not so much other factors and in reading so many articles it would seem to be the best summary of them all. Anyway, as of now, I am keeping three QBs on my estimated depth chart... but if Rudock starts showing great progress I may drop Orlovsky down into the "players fighting for a roster spot" side or if Rudock starts showing no progress at all I may drop him into that side... because yes, Quinn would cut Orlovsky even though he's already been paid $80,000 and is a veteran; just like yes, Quinn would cut Rudock even though he's already been paid $133,740 and is a draft pick (albeit a 6th rounder). Being ruthless is going to show more then once in upcoming times, like it or not.

So after 8 days and 1 OTA the Lions have just one new QB learning the playbook, with 3 arms for the next one, plus depending on how Rudock progresses he will help determine if the Lions keep 2 or 3 QBs for the regular season, and if only 2, which one is the backup to Stafford. Greater then normal progress and Rudock becomes the sole backup QB, lesser then normal progress and Orlovsky remains the backup this year while Rudock tries to make the practice squad, then there's the "typical" or "normal" progress meaning both QBs remain on the roster for one more year.

When Quinn said he likes flexibility he didn't just mean players who can play in more then one spot on the roster. He means to have all his options open in the roster makeup as well, via competition for even the backup jobs.

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