Big Board Fourth Tier: Starters In 2018

The Lions have a lot of impending free agents in the 2018 season. Players like Glover Quin, Ziggy Ansah, and Matthew Stafford, and Eric Ebron all need to be re-signed. In most of those cases, the Lions will absolutely want them back. There are however instances in which player demands are unreasonable, or friction with coaches or other players make moving on the best option. Franchise tags, fifth-year options, and plain old contract extensions are options, but so is drafting a replacement. The fourth tier of players are the ones that will not start in 2017, but likely will in 2018.

Some are simply in need of development, others play positions that do not transition well to the NFL. Some play positions in which the Lions just do not need a starter in 2017, but need a plan for the future. These players are not going to have an impact immediately but will save the team salary cap space in the future. Their salaries are much lower than equivalent veteran players, so the team may choose to move on. The previous tiers have been: Most Impactful, Day One Starters, and Starters by the End of 2017.

The Fourth Tier

  1. Mitchell Trubisky: QB, North Carolina – GamesHighlightsCombine
  2. Takkarist McKinley: DE, UCLA – GamesHighlightsCombine
  3. DeShone Kizer: QB, Notre Dame – GamesHighlightsCombine
  4. Tarrell Basham: DE, Ohio – GamesHighlightsCombine
  5. David Njoku: TE, Miami – GamesHighlightsCombine
  6. Adam Shaheen: TE, Ashland – GamesHighlightsCombine
  7. Patrick Mahomes: QB, Texas Tech – Games – HighlightsCombine
  8. Evan Engram: TE, Ole Miss – GamesHighlightsCombine
  9. Nathan Peterman: QB, – GamesHighlightsCombine
  10. Marcus Williams: S, Utah – GamesHighlightsCombine
  11. Pat Elflein: C, Ohio State – GamesHighlightsCombine
  12. TJ Watt: LB, Wisconsin – GamesHighlightsCombine
  13. Duke Riley: LB, LSU – GamesHighlightsCombine
  14. Charles Harris: DE, Missouri – GamesHighlightsCombine
  15. Jordan Willis: DE, Kansas St. – GamesHighlightsCombine
  16. ArDarius Stewart: WR, Alabama – GamesHighlightsCombine
  17. Davis Webb: QB, Cal – GamesHighlightsCombine
  18. Montravius Adams: DT, Auburn – GamesHighlightsCombine
  19. Cameron Sutton CB, Tennessee: – GamesHighlightsCombine
  20. Derek Rivers: DE, Youngstown St. – GamesHighlightsCombine
  21. Carlos Watkins: DT, Clemson – GamesHighlightsCombine
  22. DeShaun Watson: QB, Clemson – GamesHighlightsCombine
  23. Jaleel Johnson: DT, Iowa – GamesHighlightsCombine
  24. Demarcus Walker: DE, FSU – GamesHighlightsCombine
  25. Ethan Pocic: C, LSU – GamesHighlightsCombine
  26. Jake Butt: TE, Michigan – GamesHighlightsCombine
  27. Bucky Hodges: TE, Virginia Tech – GamesHighlightsCombine
  28. Gerald Everett: TE, South Alabama – GamesHighlightsCombine
  29. Eddie Jackson: S, Alabama – GamesHighlightsCombine
  30. Kendell Beckwith: LB, LSU – GamesHighlightsCombine
  31. Tanoh Kpassagnon: DL, Villanova- GamesHighlightsCombine
  32. Tanzel Smart: DT, Tulane – GamesHighlightsCombine
  33. Kenny Golladay: WR, Northern Illinois – GamesHighlightsCombine
  34. DeDe Westbrook: WR, Oklahoma – GamesHighlightsCombine

This has been one of the biggest tiers in the draft, and part of the reason is because many of these players are going to be drafted early, but not by the Lions. Any of the quarterbacks on this list wearing a Lions jersey would be a shock, to say the least. This list is an odd mix of first round picks and day three players, but their role in the future of the Detroit Lions would be the same. Players who would have the ability to play special teams while they waited for the seat atop the depth chart to open got a push-up. There are a lot of players that could replace current Lions starters, but only if given a year to learn under them.

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About the Author

Ash Thompson
Ash Thompson is a fanatical football fan, and less fanatical hockey fan despite his Canadian heritage. He is sorry aboot that. His spirit animal is a beaver with a shark's head. He is also known as /u/a5hcrack on reddit, and can be found on twitter @a5hcrack