The Detroit Lions Golden Preseason Opportunities

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The Detroit Lions Golden Preseason Opportunities
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have some golden opportunities to exploit as the 2010 preseason moves forward. Lets examine how these opportunities will impact the Lions final 53 player roster.

The August 31st Roster Cut Deadline

The first roster cut down date is August 31st. All NFL teams will be trimming their rosters to 75 players. Many of the undrafted free agents from last April’s NFL draft will become expendable along with some aging veterans.

By virtue of their poor finish in the final 2009 regular season standings, the Lions will have the second overall right of refusal on every player who is cut from every other NFL team. A nice advantage to have. A golden opportunity.

Only the St. Louis Rams can pick and choose before the Lions.

This will be an extremely busy time for GM Martin Mayhew, and the Lions personnel department. Will they find another Randy Phillips among those cut players? Can the Lions add a quality depth player?

Waiver Wire Claims

The waiver wire has been an active shopping venue for the Lions already. Safety David Roach, cornerback T.J. Rushing, kicker Steven Hauschka, linebacker Ashlee Palmer, and guard Trevor Canfield have all been claimed off waivers this year.

During the regular season NFL teams will waive active players in order to make room for players returning from injuries. The PUP list could be another opportunity for the Lions.

Once again, the Lions have the second right of refusal on all waived players. Can the Lions find a golden needle in the waiver wire haystack?

The September 4th roster cut.

NFL teams will be required to cut down from 75 to 53 players on September 4th. That means that the other 31 NFL teams will be providing as many as 434 players (not including practice squad players) for the Lions to pick up a depth player, or two. Could another Willie Young or Randy Phillips be lurking there?

Practice Squad Claims

Every NFL team will have an eight player practice squad. Those 248 players from the other 31 teams can sign with any other team without compensation. Here’s another opportunity for the Lions to claim a gem.

Trades

The most active trading period of the off season (with the exception of the restricted free agent period) will ramp up beginning next week. The injuries to safety Louis Delmas and linebacker Jordan Dizon are critical blows to the success of the Lions in 2010.

While Dizon was cast in a back up role, his loss makes a thin group of linebackers a reason for great concern. Likewise, the groin injury that will hamper Delmas means that a starting caliber safety may be on St. Martin’s shopping list.

Conclusions

We can conclude that the above opportunities will provide the Lions with their last best chance to recover from the Millen catastrophe. The reason for this is that the Lions should come away with an improved record in 2010, and will be selecting talent later in the draft.

The Lions are closing in on becoming a team with credible talent and depth.

In retrospect, that two-win 2009 season may be a blessing in disguise. The Lions have more talent on the field today than they have had in several years. The opportunities to find depth, and perhaps even a starter, are there. The Lions must make the best of them.

Expect to see continued changes in the Lions roster at an accelerated pace.

Mike Sudds is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. Mike is also an analyst and correspondent for DraftTek.com.

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