Detroit Lions 2024 Pre-Minicamp Depth Chart

Here's a look at Detroit's depth chart headed into mandatory minicamp.
Amik Robertson and Terrion Arnold
Amik Robertson and Terrion Arnold / Kimberly P. Mitchell, USA TODAY NETWORK
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The Detroit Lions, coming off a run to the NFC Championship Game in 2023, are expected to be one of the NFL’s very best teams this upcoming season. They’re equipped with a well-rounded roster, and it’s in large part due to the work of fourth-year general manager Brad Holmes

Quite notably, Holmes took it upon himself this offseason to build up the team’s most glaring weakness: the defensive side of the football.

Without further ado, here’s a look at where the Lions’ depth chart stands headed into mandatory minicamp this week.  

Quarterback

Starter: Jared Goff
Backup: Hendon Hooker
Reserve: Nate Sudfeld

Goff, equipped with a new long-term deal, is the Lions’ clear-cut franchise passer for the foreseeable future. Hooker, who has struggled during the first two rounds of OTAs, and Sudfeld are set to battle it out for the backup job throughout minicamp and training camp this summer. 

Running back

Starter: David Montgomery
Backup: Jahmyr Gibbs
Reserves: Craig Reynolds, Zonovan Knight, Sione Vaki (Rookie), Jermar Jefferson, Jake Funk

From all accounts, Montgomery has been Detroit’s best back throughout OTAs this spring. He and Gibbs formed a dynamic one-two punch in the Lions’ backfield in 2023, and big things should be in store for the tandem once again this upcoming season. 

Meanwhile, Reynolds, the incumbent No. 3 running back, is expected to battle for the position during minicamp and throughout the summer with both Vaki and Knight. 

Wide receivers

Starters: Amon-Ra St. Brown (Slot), Jameson Williams, Donovan Peoples-Jones
Backups: Kalif Raymond (Slot), Antoine Green, Tre’Quan Smith
Reserves: Daurice Fountain, Tom Kennedy, Maurice Alexander, Jalon Calhoun (UDFA), Isaiah Williams (UDFA), Kaden Davis

St. Brown and Jameson Williams are locks to fill the top two spots on Detroit’s wide receivers depth chart in 2024. The Lions’ receivers situation is a bit murky after that, with Peoples-Jones and Raymond expected to duke it out for the No. 3 WR job. 

Additionally, Green, a second-year pro, has logged reps with the starters during OTAs, which could be a sign that he’s in for much more playing time this upcoming season. Meanwhile, Isaiah Williams, an undrafted free-agent acquisition, continues to be a dark-horse candidate to steal a roster spot coming out of training camp. 

Tight end

Starter: Sam LaPorta
Backup: Brock Wright
Reserves: James Mitchell, Shane Zylstra, Sean McKeon, Parker Hesse

LaPorta had a record-breaking rookie season, and is undoubtedly the No. 1 tight end on Detroit’s depth chart entering the ‘24 campaign. For a second straight year, he’s expected to be backed up by the team’s “unsung hero,” Brock Wright. 

Meanwhile, Mitchell and Zylstra appear to be the frontrunners for the No. 3 TE job, and McKeon – a free-agent pick-up of Brad Holmes’ this offseason – has an outside shot at capturing the position with a strong camp season.    

Offensive tackle

Starters: Taylor Decker (Left), Penei Sewell (Right)
Backups: Dan Skipper, Giovanni Manu (Rookie)
Reserve: Connor Galvin

Decker and Sewell are two of the league’s very best offensive tackles, and are absolute locks to start at their respective positions entering minicamp. Meanwhile, Skipper is a safe bet to assume the duties of the team’s swing tackle. 

Additionally, Holmes & Co. are hoping that Manu, the first of Detroit’s two fourth-round picks this past April, emerges as a reliable reserve tackle in his first season as a pro. 

Offensive guard

Starters: Graham Glasgow (Left), Kevin Zeitler (Right)
Backups: Kayode Awosika, Christian Mahogany (Rookie)
Reserves: Colby Sorsdal, Matt Farniok, Netane Muti

Glasgow and Zeitler, a prized acquisition of Holmes this offseason, are in line to receive the majority of the reps at the two guard positions. Meanwhile, the two savvy vets are expected to be backed up by the trio of Awosika, Mahogany and Sorsdal.

Mahogany, the final pick of the Lions’ 2024 draft class, could emerge as the leader in the clubhouse for the job with quality performances in minicamp and training camp. 

Center

Starter: Frank Ragnow
Backup: Michael Niese
Reserves: Duke Clemens (UDFA), Bryan Hudson (UDFA), Kingsley Eguakun (UDFA)

Ragnow is the ultra reliable anchor of the Lions’ high-functioning offensive line. If he succumbs to any kind of serious injury this upcoming season, Glasgow is expected to slide over from guard to man the position. Niese, a practice-squad player for the majority of last season, could also log some reps in relief of Ragnow. 

Meanwhile, just like Niese, Clemens, Hudson and Eguakun – a trio of undrafted free agents – are expected to vie for spots on Detroit’s practice squad in 2024. 

Nose tackle

Starter: DJ Reader
Backup: Brodric Martin

Reader, arguably the most meaningful addition of Holmes’ busy offseason, is expected to form a dynamic duo with Alim McNeill on the interior of the defensive line. He’ll be backed up at nose tackle by Martin, who’s undergone a physical transformation this offseason and subsequently could be in line for more snaps in 2024.

Defensive tackle

Starter: Alim McNeill
Backup: Mekhi Wingo (Rookie)
Reserves: Levi Onwuzurike, Kyle Peko, Chris Smith

McNeill took a major step forward in his career development in 2023, and produced a career-best campaign. Coming off the aforementioned breakthrough season, Detroit is expecting McNeill to continue to be a steady presence along the interior of the defensive line this upcoming season.

He’ll likely be backed up by Wingo, a sixth-round pick of the Lions this past April, and Onwuzurike. Additionally, Peko, a veteran defensive tackle, could find his way onto the 53-man roster with a productive camp season.

Defensive end/EDGE

Starters: Aidan Hutchinson, Marcus Davenport
Backups: John Cominsky, Josh Paschal
Reserves: James Houston, Mathieu Betts, Mitchell Agude, Isaac Ukwu (UDFA), Nate Lynn (UDFA)

To no surprise, Hutchinson has looked strong during OTAs. He heads into minicamp as undoubtedly Detroit’s most reliable EDGE defender.

Davenport, who was acquired by Holmes in free agency this offseason, will fight with Cominsky and Houston for reps at the EDGE spot opposite Hutchinson all throughout minicamp and training camp. Meanwhile, Josh Paschal, who’s entering his third season as a pro, could also be in line for some valuable reps at the position. 

Additionally, Betts, the Canadian Football League’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2023, is a player to watch out for headed into minicamp. 

MIKE linebacker

Starter: Jack Campbell
Backup: Derrick Barnes

Campbell, entering his second season as a pro, is presently viewed as the favorite to start at MIKE linebacker coming out of training camp. Yet, Barnes is a trusted member of the Lions’ linebackers group, and should give the Iowa product a run for his money in 2024. 

WILL linebacker

Starter: Alex Anzalone
Backup: Malcolm Rodriguez
Reserves: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Steele Chambers (UDFA), DaRon Gilbert (UDFA)

Anzalone, a team captain for the Lions each of the past three seasons, is held in high regard by Detroit’s coaching staff, and is the prohibitive favorite to win the WILL linebacker job. Expect Lions fan favorite Malcolm Rodriguez, who also saw playing time at fullback last season, and special teams ace Jalen Reeves-Maybin to also get some run at WILL linebacker.

Cornerbacks

Starters: Carlton Davis, Terrion Arnold (Rookie)
Backups: Emmanuel Moseley, Ennis Rakestraw Jr. (Rookie)
Reserves: Kindle Vildor, Craig James, Khalil Dorsey, Steven Gilmore, Morice Norris (UDFA)

Arnold has looked every bit the part of a No. 1 cornerback thus far in OTAs. He’s put together a healthy amount of competitive reps, and has shown he’s not afraid to take on any of Detroit’s top receivers one-on-one. The Lions certainly have high hopes for the Alabama product during the 2024 campaign, and believe that he’ll form a productive starting cornerback tandem with veteran Carlton Davis III.

Meanwhile, fellow veteran Amik Robertson, returning corner Emmanuel Moseley and Ennis Rakestraw Jr., Detroit’s 2024 second-round pick, should provide the Lions with a trio of capable reserves at the position. Vildor, who garnered an increased amount of snaps down the stretch last season, could also log some meaningful reps at corner in ‘24.

Nickel cornerback

Starter: Brian Branch
Backup: Amik Robertson

Branch was the definition of proficient in his debut NFL season. He graded out as one of the league’s very best corners, proving to be adept at both stopping the run and limiting the production of teams’ slot receivers. Subsequently, fans and pundits alike have high expectations for what the Alabama product will do as an encore this upcoming season. 

In 2024, he’s expected to also log snaps at safety, which means that Detroit will need another defensive back, at least from time to time, to take on opponents’ slot receivers. As of right now, that individual will likely be Robertson, who, as noted above, will also get some run at outside corner in his first season with the Lions.

Safety

Starters: Kerby Joseph, Ifeatu Melifonwu
Backups: C.J. Moore, Brandon Joseph, Chelen Garnes (UDFA), Loren Strickland (UDFA)

Kerby Joseph, who is out until training camp after undergoing hip surgery, and Ifeatu Melifonwu are the returning starters. With depth a bit thin at the position, the organization recently re-signed Moore, who spent the 2023 season out of football due to a gambling violation. He and Brandon Joseph are the overwhelming favorites to back up Kerby Joseph and Melifonwu going into the ‘24 campaign. 

Special teams

Kicker: Michael Badgley, James Turner (UDFA)
Punter: Jack Fox
Long-snapper: Scott Daly, Hogan Hatten (UDFA)


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Vito Chirco

VITO CHIRCO

Vito has covered the NFL and the Detroit Lions for the past five years.  Has extensive reporting history of college athletics, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Mercy Athletics.  Chirco's work include NFL columns, analyzing potential Detroit Lions prospects coming out of college, NFL draft coverage and analysis of events occurring in the NFL.  Extensive broadcasting experience including hosting a Detroit Tigers podcast and co-hosting a Detroit Lions NFL podcast since 2019.