Tuesday, May 27, 2008

30 "Lock" - Who Did We Decide?

I've tallied the lists, and there are some interesting things to be learned. First, the results by number of votes. Each player could, if picked by all who submitted lists, get a total of 12 votes.

Here is the "Total Lock" list garnering 12 votes apiece:

  1. QB - Kitna
  2. QB - Stanton
  3. WR - Williams
  4. WR - CJ
  5. WR - Furrey
  6. OT - Backus
  7. OG - Mulitalo
  8. C - Raiola
  9. OT - Cherilus
  10. DT - Redding
  11. DT - Darby
  12. DE - IAF
  13. LB - Sims
  14. CB - Kelly
  15. CB - Bodden
  16. PK - Hanson

In other words, over half of the list was unanimous. Needless to say, any players from the above 16 not on the final roster would definitely shock this fan community!

Next up we have the "99% Pure" group -- those tallying 11 of 12 votes:

  1. DE - White
  2. LB - Dizon
  3. LB - Lenon
  4. S - Alexander
  5. P - Harris

So we made it through a total of 21 of our 30 "Locks" with just those getting all, or only missing one vote. Now we move to "Missed a Couple, but that's OK" (9 or 10 votes)

  1. QB - Orlovsky
  2. RB - K. Smith
  3. DT - Fluellen
  4. S - Bullocks
  5. S - D. Smith
  6. LS - Mulbach
  7. TE - Gaines
  8. OG - Peterman

Yes, I know that brings us to a grand total of....29 The next highest vote getter, in the coveted 30th spot is:

Cliff Avril with 7 votes.

The "Got votes, but not of Confidence" group is still likely to make the 53, but as this list has shown, it could be adios:

  1. CB - Fisher (6 votes)
  2. FB - Felton (4 votes)
  3. TE - D. Campbell (4 votes)
  4. OT - J. Scott (4 votes)
  5. FB - Bradley (3 votes)
  6. DT - L. Moore (2 votes)
  7. CB - K. Smith (2 votes)
  8. OT - Foster (1 vote)
  9. WR - McDonald (1 vote)
  10. OG - Ramierez (1 vote)
  11. LB - A. Lewis (1 vote)
  12. DE - Devries (1 vote)
So all in all, after looking at 87 players, we have determined 30 (realistically 29 strong) that we believe are "locks" to be on the final 53. We also identified 12 that are close to locks, but maybe not so safe as it may seem...

By position group, I found some interesting trends:

QB -- It is apparent the 3 QB's on the roster are fighting for pecking order, not roster spots. And don't be fooled -- both Orlovsky and Stanton are going to get a lot of work, and a lot of looks in the ifseason workouts and camp -- as well as the preseason. Whoever shows they have "it" will be #2 behind Kitna, and the other guy will be looking at a harder road to retain a roster spot next ifseason. Kitna's only got a couple seasons left at best, and both Orlovsky and Stanton know if neither of them shows enough progress this ifseason, there will be a new guy to contend with in camp next year -- either a veteran or another draft pick; neither of them really want that, so I see them working their tails off to improve, and then improve some more to keep one-upping each other. This can only lead to each of them being pushed as far as talent will take them. Competition at its' best

WR -- One surprising thing was McDonald not getting more than one vote. I'll admit, I left him off my final list - only because I felt there were more secure options. What this really tells us, I think, is 2 things: Furrey may not be as safe as we think, and there is going to be a heck of a battle for those 4th and 5th WR spots.

RB -- one RB. ONE. That says it all about the Lions' backfield situation. It is not lacking talent, but there are different skills sets, situations, and even will be effected by the outcome of other position battles such as WR, and KR/PR, and what special teamers make it from other position groupings. RB will be one of the major positions to watch this ifseason. I agree that, if he keeps on working, K. Smith is "safe" -- but every one the RB will really be humping it not only for depth battles, but to prove they belong on the roster.

O-Line -- May sound crazy, but did anyone else notice that the starting line (2T, 2G, and C) were 5 of the locks? There will be competition on the line, but my guess is that Backus-Mulitalo-Raiola-Peterman-Cherilus is the starting O-Line against Atlanta week 1, barring an exceptional camp by Ramierez, Scott, or Foster. Of those, Ramierez may be able to push Mulitalo or Peterman -- either due to age or skill accordingly.

D-Line -- Again, I am amazed that, essentially, we locked in the 4 Dline starters (IAF-Redding-Darby-White), as well as 2 rotational players (Avril and Fluellen). That would mean there is only one DE and one DT spot open for competition in camp. That should lead to some fierce fighting among the other 9 or so guys currently on the roster at Dline.

CB -- From weakness to strength. Bodden-Kelly-Fisher at Nickel -- again, starters for week 1. That again only leaves 1 or possibly 2 spots open for K.Smith, Wilson, and whoever else is left to fight over. Another weak area that has starters with enough talent to lock up their spots -- yet are not lacking for qualified backups vying for position. Could still be stronger, but it appears the cards are dealt here already too.

S -- Wow. Pearson definitely didn't win any fans this ifseason. Throw in our apparent confidence in Bullocks-Alexander-Smith to get it done, then you have one heck of a battle for the one other S spot on the roster. Pearson, Body, Campbell...lot of guys vying for one backup spot, and ST play will again be a huge factor -- especially with 2 young starters, and a savvy veteran leading the way. Got a gut feeling that Pearson is still the 4th S, and may push for a more prominent roel if either Alexander or Bullocks falters.

LB -- I think our locks of 3 LB comes down to the fact most of us are convinced that even if Dizon wins the starting MLB position in camp or preseason, that Lenon will stick either as the starting SLB or at worst back-up MLB. However, the fact we only chose 3 LB out of a probable 7 on the final roster again attests to the talent the Lions have brought in to strengthen the LB corps -- just to name a few, vying for back-up weakside and starting SS, and backup MLB or the 7th spot are: Fincher, Gardner, Campbell, Lewis, Cannon, Davis...and there are more. some of those guys aren't going to make it.

Kicking Unit -- Confidence still runs high in out kicking trio of PK Hanson, P Harris, and LS Mulbach. If there is one unit comprised of players respected at their relative positions around the league, this is it. Any one of these players would be an immediate upgrade over their current situation for about 3/4 of the teams in the league. None of them would be unemployed long -- and the Lions have smartly gotten them all wrapped up long term. Stability on on this unit is key, and is present. No competition needed -- although I am afraid that Hanson is very close to edging into not-so-safe-as-a-lock-anymore territory. It is only a matter of time and a few more game winners before, in a season or two, the Lions are facing that task of picking a kicker that has to be done once every 15 -20 years. Of all the teams, the Lions have had the best luck in their history in the NFL hands down when it comes to consistency at this position.

From this point, as we approach the cut-downs, our "30 Lock" is safe from guesses as to who will be released. Should one of them shockingly get cut, then...umm...well, they weren't such a lock after all and I'll have to call Guido my bookie back and try to talk my way out of it. Ummm....better call him now -- just in case. After all, this is the Ifseason -- and no one knows what ifs will happen.

editors note: I was kidding about the bookie. Not a gambler at all, actually. Went to the Casino for my 18th Birthday with my Grandparents. They wanted to be sure we all learned early that if you can't afford to piss away what you brought with you, don't go in the casino door. Gave me $20 to gamble with. Won over $50 on the third pull of the quarter machine. Pocketed it and said I was ready to go. Know when to run away. But, since we'd only been there under 5 minutes, I got $5 in nickles and played those for about 45 minutes. Then I left with $20 bucks birthday money, $45 gambling money, and the secure knowledge I was not a gambler, but more of a calculated risk taker. Not that I'm timid by any means, but I needed much better odds than the slots, that's for sure. After all, an opportunity once lost is lost forever. Only by moving on to the next opportunity and learning from the past and not dwelling on it can you be successful. Those who focus only on opportunities they missed, will fail to realize that new ones are showing up all the time -- if we but reach out...


JJLions20 said...

I figured we could come up with a pretty good consensus on the "30 Lock" players. But every year there is a surprise. Let us also remember if somebody gets hurt and placed on PUP or IR, they do not count against the roster count.

I can live with Avril in the 30 Lock, but we have all seen many high round draft choices not make it. Then again it usually doesn't happen in the first year.

Of the rest, I think the voting shows a large number of people think that McDonald could get traded. That possibility left him out of the "30 Lock". I'm a little surprised Dan Campbell did not get more votes. Maybe people thought he could be on the 6 week IR to start the season. Maybe it was simply overlooking the TE. But Gaines made the 30 and he has not even put on pads for the Lions yet. Then again Gains’ contract and guaranteed SB that is spread over many year would make him more of a lock.

As far as the RB position nobody is safe other than Smith. I feel Calhoun is the key to who stays and who goes. But here is a different way to look at this position. Which guy frees up more cap space if he is cut before the first game. Referring to NetRat's cap data, and looking at the impact of 2008 cap (2008 salary plus any current and future bonuses), here are the net savings in cap.

First lets look at Tatum Bell. According to NetRat's sheet Tatum Bell's bonus is in the column of "other bonus". I don't know if that means the bonus is guaranteed. This could be an incentive bonus. So I will have to list Bell two ways for now. First as if the bonus counts against the cap if he is cut, and secondly as if it does not count. Remember this is cap savings if cut.

Bell $600k/$1.6M
Cason $690k
Calhoun $68k
Pinner $605k
Bradley $351k
Allen $290k
Fitzsimon $265k

If Bell's Bonus is not guaranteed, that is a big difference. If it is guaranteed Bell, Cason, and Pinner would all have a positive impact against the cap in the $600k-$700k range. I was surprised to see Pinner and Cason having that much of a positive impact on the Cap if they are cut. Calhoun would be safer from a Cap savings perspective. This means Pinner Cason and Bell have got to be a lot better than Calhoun.

This also tells me that if you take Allen as being a given cut, then there are 4 RB's competing for 2 positions (Bell, Cason, Calhoun, & Pinner). The Lions are going to free up somewhere in the area of $2.5M - $963k. There could be enough cap space freed up to pick up a nice veteran that gets cut from another team. Or it could be money freed up to sign FA’s during the season due to injury situations.

Does anybody know if the Bell bonus is guaranteed? This could have a big impact on Bell’s longevity in Detroit. Once again depending on what Calhoun shows.

Patrick said...


Gaines is a lock, as they specifically brought him in as the starter. This guy is pretty good as a blocker and is underrated as a pass catcher.
IMHO Gaines and Campbell will be the TE's.

Nice stats by the way....that even throws a little different wrench into things if they are indeed looking at which player is not only performing but the most cost effective. We could very well keep a player that is performing a little less, but has "potential" and saving money now and later..then keeping the performer that will cost more later.

CHIEFGER139 said...

guess i didnt understand how the 30 lock question worked-
i just posted the 30 guys i thought were locks and so on-must not of done it right because guys on my 30 lock list dint even get one vote

JJLions20 said...

I was going to say you need to look into the procedures to request a recount. But I went back and looked at your 30, and all of them got at least one vote. You did pick IKA, and Alma-Francis is listed in the top 30 as IAF. Also you listed Langston, and he appears as L.Moore. He only got two votes but here is there. What player did you think you picked that didn't get a single vote?

Yes in the NFL, it's a business, and the almighty Cap has quite an impact. Some decisions will be made based upon where to best spend the money, and where some money can be freed up top help in another area.

If Kevin Smith looks like the real thing i preseason and Calhoun looks like he can handle the #2 back role, then Bell is in real trouble because of his cap friendly contract, and he offers nothing on special teams. If they decide to keep Bell, then Pinner and Cason have to actually deliver a lot more than Calhoun because Calhoun's contract is not cap friendly and we save very little by cutting him.

Looking at the posting there were a number of votes for Smith and K. Smith, with no position listed. How did you tell if it was Kevin Smith, Keith Smith or in some case (where the vote was just for Smith) Dwight Smith, or Corey Smith.

DetFan1979 said...

Chief -- JJ beat me to it, but I thought I got all your guys -- and I must say, I think all 30 are good choices for the roster. It was very hard for me to slim it down to 30. I don't envy the coaches!

JJ - too many smiths! I actually guessed based on teh fact that most put players in by position group, and most lumped offense and defense together. So I took my best shot. I typically took Smith, Bullocks, Alexander to be D. Smith the S, and Smith with WR and QB's to me Kevin Smith. If anyone meant it to be Keith Smith the CB that I placed as a Dwight Smith, looking at the numbers I apologize.

We'll see who got 100%, although I think in the end even 905 of our one and two vote guys will be on the final roster.

Great look at the RB JJLions -- I hadn't really taken that into consideration when I did my preliminary look at the RB battle -- My gut just said that Calhoun was the Key and Bell could be in trouble. It also reinforces my feeling that Cason (yet again) will not make it out of camp.

$10 says if he gets cut, SF immediately picks him up and gives him a fat SB and that they use him as much as Gore, because "he knows the offense better and can contribute..." LOL -- and JTO will be handing him the ball...twice a game.

Anonymous said...

"30 LOCK" with Tina Fey.

I'd be good with our "locks". No surprises.

Jared deVries is in trouble, just because of the numbers. Even if they keep nine DLine, because it's probably going to be a fifth DT.

QB - I don't see a Martz move where JT O' Somebody comes in and disturbes the triplets.

HB ??? This will be fun, and someone will be on I.R. Dart board please!

WR That fifth spot. WOW! Look at the great competition they had last year. The last guy WON the spot (Walters). The sixth guy won the right to get snagged later in the season (Middleton), and the seventh guy (Bellamy) could have been on any other NFL roster, hands down. Bellamy's bad misfortune was numbers and the fact that he doesn't contribute on special teams.

TE Let's hope Campbell is healthy. He and Gaines are locks. They are true TE's. Fitz and McHugh are in trouble. McHugh can spell at FB, and may have to go that route. At least Fitz scored a kick return for a TD last year, he's got that going for him. But he's not a blocker, and a hands guy with a pound the ball offense (and no "positional flexibility") leaves him hanging.

OL - Remind yourselves, I am calling for Ramirez to beat Peterman for the RG spot. Outside of that, I don't see many upsets with the big uglies on either side of the ball. The youngest guys with the least amounts of talent will get cut, and hopefully be added to the practice squad.

DL - Again, cut and dry, and I think deVries is the one left hanging and drying. Jared's played good ball for many years here in "D", but he isn't young anymore and won't "develop". They already have the "mentor" in White.

LB ? Again, it depends who comes out to play. Campbell may surprise most, but if he adds a little weight, he will be better in coverage than most as he is a safety by trade. His problem will be taking on OT's at point of attack against the run. Probably an injury or two before the end of camp with this group as well.

CB/ S - These guys look set. Again, Pearson has the big "Pigpen cloud" following him with the legal issues. That's why I never marked him as a lock. He covers better than Blue, which gives him the #4. If they keep 5 from this group, or if there is an injury, look for Campbell to come back to the safety group during camp. Even though improvements were made, and you have two young guys who have BOTH started, this is the thinnest group (with depth) on the team. Pray for no injuries here.