2014 Depth Chart: Detroit Lions

A look at the depth and quality of each position on the roster for the 2014 Detroit Lions.

| 3 years ago

2014 Depth Chart: Detroit Lions

2014 depth update DET

[depth chart last updated 7/3/14]


•  So the first question is obvious. How come we have Reggie Bush as a good player and Joique Bell with an identical rating? Truthfully, I think with more carries, Bell would actually show himself to be a better player. This was by far Bush’s best all-around season and we still had Bell graded higher and, as a receiver, significantly so. He takes the ball in far less opportune areas (short yardage) and just makes things happen. Of those players with over 50 carries he ranked eighth in forced missed tackles per attempt and he’s only getting better.

•  It might be a little bit early to put Larry Warford in the “high quality” category, but he did so little wrong it was hard to argue against. In our view he should have been a starting Pro Bowler and the fact Kyle Long was selected before him shows just how twisted the system has become.

•  I wanted to put Jason Jones down as “below average” but Khaled talked me out of it. Now as a pass rushing defensive tackle he may well be better than that but at end he’s never played well. Tennessee decided to play him there in 2011 after a stellar season the prior year in the interior. It was a disaster and frankly it looked it may go that way again last year before injury cut it short.

Roster Battles

1.  Third Wide Receiver

The selection of Eric Ebron means maybe the Lions will view 12 personnel the way most teams view 11 personnel but regardless there will still be three wide receivers on the field and it will be often. Ryan Broyles is looking more and more like a second round bust managing three drops on 11 catchable balls in 114 pass routes. His 0.77 Yards Per Route Run (despite having Calvin Johnson drawing coverage) was an appalling return. Now, teams don’t give up on that high a pick without a fight so he’ll probably get at least training camp to pick up his game. Both Kris Durham and Kevin Ogletree also had issues so maybe T.J. Jones has a chance. However it pans out this doesn’t look like a position of strength for Detroit.

2.  Strongside Linebacker

This may not end up being much of a “battle” but perhaps I’m dismissing Ashlee Palmer too easily and draftee Kyle Van Noy will not play to expectations. It’s thought the job is his, but rookies have a trait of not being easy to predict. Add to this Palmer, while not doing a great job, wasn’t completely awful either and it at least has the makings of a scrap if not an all-out war.

3.  Cornerback

Many see the whole corner situation in Detroit as a festering sore and were shocked when the Lions went tight end in the first round and didn’t take (or trade down to take) one of the four first round CBs taken after their pick. Indeed they didn’t take a corner until the fourth round (Nevin Lawson) which suggests they are happier with what they have than others. Is their reason for optimism? Well Rashean Mathis did a much better job than expected and if he can replicate his late season form he’ll be a starter in base. After that though things get hazy. Chris Houston looked terrible before bowing out in week 14 and Darius Slay looked out of his depth (at least early) before having a little late-season success. In the slot, Dwight Bentley had an inconsistent year with unfortunately a lot more poor games than good ones.

Mixed bag is too kind a phrase and I’m expecting a lot of experimentation before they finalize the nickel secondary from that lot.


[NB: I’m now on holiday for a week, so Gordon McGuinness will be taking over completing the depth chart articles in my absence. If you have any updates you can contact him on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon]


Click here to see all of the depth charts we’ve covered.


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| PFF Founder

Neil founded PFF in 2006 and is currently responsible for the service to the company's 22 NFL team customers. He is constantly developing new insights into the game and player performance.

  • Thomas Holm

    How come the Depth Chart ratings are so different than the Projected Lineups ratings? Suh, Fauria, Palmer, Jones, Levy, Slay, Sims and Houston have different ratings than on the Projected Lineup.


    I can see that Steve wrote the Projected Lineup for the Lions and Neil wrote the Depth chart, but i would assume that you communicate with each other.

    I can understand that there might be personal differences on “Role Players”, but someone like Suh should have a consistent grade. I Agree with Steve’s rating for Suh. 2013 was elite, but he has not shown consistent elite play throughout his career.

    • Lisa Legs

      Houston was cut……

      • Thomas Holm


        • Lisa Legs


  • Sukhpreet Singh

    In section 2. you misspelled Kyle Van Noy– who btw is going to be a beast

  • jtruff

    I think your assessment of Rob Sims is a bit off. The last three years his grades have been +11.8, +13.8, and in -1.2. While last year was clearly a step back from the prior two, but unless you’re projecting a much further decline I have a hard time seeing how his 2013 grade or his track record merits “below average.”

    For comparison, from the depth charts already completed Kelechi Osemele was given “average” and he’s graded out worse over each of the last two seasons. Kyle Long was worse last year and is considered “average.” Amini Silatolu and Garry Williams were both awful in 2012 and did next to nothing last year and were still given “average.”

  • daverogers3123

    Is this a cumulative based rating or based on last year’s performance? If it’s cumulative Houston should be average. He was awful last season but good the previous 2 seasons. The Sims example was a good one too. If it’s based on last year, shouldn’t Levy be better than an average starter? How is there enough information on Waddle and Devin Taylor to make a judgement, but not on Jonte Green or Fauria? All have had fairly limited amount of snaps. Green has played almost as many snaps as Bentley.

  • Torrence

    Couple minor clerical items: Dorin Dickerson was non-tendered and Michael Williams was recently moved to offensive tackle.

    Also, is DeAndre Levy’s ‘Average’ designation based on the last couple years? The INT’s were a bit of an anomaly last year, but I felt he turned a corner and had the strongest season of his career.

    I remember watching Chris Greenwood play vs the Giants (Week 16) in his first career start – he came away very impressed. He has tremendous length for the position and it would be enormous if he could push Mathis down to the slot and handle one of the outside spots opposite Slay (I’m assuming Chris Houston will be a non-factor this year).

    Great insight.

  • RTisMe

    *Bill Bentley

  • JJ

    DeAndre Levy and Waddle are “good starter” at least. Pettigrew should also be average.

  • mitch696969

    I think this write up is pretty close to correct. Sims had a rough time but is know to have much higher ability should he choose to play at that level. If you can’t motivate guys you turn to your depth for incentive. The thing about the defense is many of the players rated in the yellow, orange are likely to improve with special focus on the DEs. Our tackles are grading low and that is probably attributed to run blocking ability as our line rates extremely well in pass protection. This makes the 2 TE set look really smart to make up for weak tackles. Greenwood is clearly a step up from Green, that’s probably already settled. Health is the only thing holding back Greenwood, Houston. It is clear that the Lions should be scouting college strictly for LCBs all year long.

  • Eric O. Nelson, III

    You may see Austin replace Sims this year if Sims cannot get healthy, and he is aging. Tough year to become a FA with this O line. They are young, versatile and loaded.

  • Dave

    I’m surprised by Levy’s rating, especially since this is the updated version I’m looking at. “Average” is not a grade that represents his play last season. Forget the 6 interceptions as at least a few of them came from tips/pressured throws, but his coverage was fantastic as was his play on screens and draws. Like many WLB’s, running right at him is not his strong suit, but he held up fairly well nonetheless. Man deserves at least “Good Starter” status.

  • Doc

    Are these depth charts going to be updated through at least the beginning of the season, seeing as many of these players are not even on the team anymore. I would guess it’s the same situation with all the teams.
    I know now that the season has started that you guys have a ton on your plate doing all the reviews and such….was just curious.

  • Gordon Paesani

    Kris Durham, Leshoure, Williams, Edwards were cut before the season started. You guys need to look at the rosters before putting up this crap

    • Ugh

      And this was posted in May, with a July update.

  • Gordon Paesani

    This crap is soooooo old. Half the players are gone and HTF can you rate Levy as average..waste of my time