NFL Detroit Lions

5 Surprise Players Who Could Be Starters For Detroit Lions In 2014

Predicting 5 Surprise Starters For The Detroit Lions In 2014

Larry Warford Lions
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Just like 2013, the Detroit Lions will be have to find several under-the-radar players who can become starters in 2014. Whether it’s because of injuries or disappointing play from incumbent starters, these players will have an opportunity to show the organization what they can do. Here now is a look at five Detroit Lions players who could be surprise starters in 2014.

5. Rodney Austin, LG

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5. Rodney Austin, LG

Rodney Austin Lions
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With 35-year-old guard Rob Sims missing most of OTAs with injury, third-year guard Rodney Austin has taken a majority of the first-team snaps. Each day that passes with Sims on the bench and Austin on the field makes it more likely that Detroit will cut ties with Sims and give a promising youngster the chance to start opposite Larry Warford.

4. Devin Taylor, LDE

Devin Taylor Lions
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4. Devin Taylor, LDE

Devin Taylor Lions
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Ezekiel Ansah is solidified as the starter at right defensive end, but the left side doesn't have a true No. 1. Jason Jones was supposed to be the guy last year, but he only played in three games after tearing an ACL. Second-year end Devin Taylor has the potential to be a good player but was only a spot-player last season. With Taylor's high ceiling and uncertainty surrounding Jones' health, Taylor can make a serious push to become the starter.

3. Don Carey, SS

Don Carey Lions
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3. Don Carey, SS

Don Carey Lions
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James Ihedigbo was brought in this offseason because of his experience under new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, but it's no coincidence that this will be his third team in four seasons. He has primarily been a backup during his career who hasn't made a lot of big plays. Don Carey is similar to Ihedigbo in that both are career journeymen, but Carey does have some starting experience with the Lions. Either way, the position is a weak link.

2. Nevin Lawson, LCB

Nevin Lawson Lions
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2. Nevin Lawson, LCB

Nevin Lawson Lions
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Things are wide open at the cornerback position now that Chris Houston was released last week. With Darius Slay expected to start on the right side, players like rookie Nevin Lawson and veterans Bill Bentley and Rashean Mathis are in the mix to start. Mathis is 33 years old and there are not a lot of 33-year-old starting corners. Bentley has struggled throughout his Lions career, making Lawson an intriguing candidate as a starter.

1. Joseph Fauria, 2nd TE

Joseph Fauria Lions
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1. Joseph Fauria, 2nd TE

Joseph Fauria Lions
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The Lions are incredibly deep at tight end with 2014 first-round pick Eric Ebron, 2009 first-round pick Brandon Pettigrew and 2013 undrafted free agent Joseph Fauria. While Ebron will be the No. 1, the job for the second starting tight end position comes down to Pettigrew and Fauria. Pettigrew is a superior blocker but poor receiver, while Fauria is a superior receiver and a poor blocker. If Fauria can block better, he will overtake Pettigrew.