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NFL Detroit Lions

Predicting The Detroit Lions’ Final Depth Chart Before the 2014 Season Begins

Detroit Lions Training Camp 2014: Predicting the Final Depth Chart

Matthew Stafford Lions
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As the Detroit Lions try to put last season's disastrous finish behind them, a new coach and new coaching staff will determine who is good enough to not just make the roster, but who is going to start for the Lions in 2014. With the first preseason game just days away, here's my early projection for the Lions' final 53-man roster and depth chart heading into Week 1.

Quarterbacks (2)

Matthew Stafford Lions
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Quarterbacks (2)

Matthew Stafford Lions
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Matthew Stafford
Dan Orlovsky

Stafford is the clear-cut starter while Orlovsky, a veteran in the NFL, gets the role as his backup. New coach Jim Caldwell has been known to only carry two quarterbacks a season in the past. Youngsters Kellen Moore and James Franklin will fight for a spot on the practice squad.

Running Backs (6)

Reggie Bush Lions
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Running Backs (6)

Reggie Bush Lions
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Reggie Bush
Joique Bell
Theo Riddick
Mikel Leshoure
Jed Collins
Montell Owens

Bush will still be the starter despite some fumbling problems last year. Bell will continue to be a valuable backup while Riddick and Leshoure will serve as depth. Collins' experience in Joe Lombardi's offense makes him the starting fullback while Owens' special teams play will earn him a roster spot.

Wide Receivers (6)

Calvin Johnson Lions
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Wide Receivers (6)

Calvin Johnson Lions
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Calvin Johnson
Golden Tate
Ryan Broyles
Kris Durham
Kevin Ogletree
Jeremy Ross

Johnson and Tate are firmly entrenched as starters with the other receiver positions up for grabs. Broyles and Durham are battling to be the No. 3 receiver while Ogletree has had an impressive camp so far. Ross will make the squad as the team's primary kick returner.

Tight Ends (3)

Eric Ebron Lions
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Tight Ends (3)

Eric Ebron Lions
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Eric Ebron
Brandon Pettigrew
Joseph Fauria

Ebron was selected No. 10 overall in this past year's draft and will be the starter from day one. Pettigrew was brought back on a four-year deal as he is a good receiver and a great blocker. Fauria is the wild card as a major threat in the red zone.

Offensive Line (8)

Riley Reiff Lions
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Offensive Line (8)

Riley Reiff Lions
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Riley Reiff (LT)
Rob Sims (LG)
Dominic Raiola (C)
Larry Warford (RG)
LaAdrian Waddle (RT)
Corey Hilliard (OT)
Rodney Austin (OG)
Travis Swanson (C)

After having four of five starters play all 16 games last season, Reiff, Sims, Raiola and Warford are clear starters while Waddle will start at right tackle to begin the season. Hilliard, Austin and Swanson provide depth at each position.

Defensive Line (9)

Ezekiel Ansah Lions
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Defensive Line (9)

Ezekiel Ansah Lions
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Ezekiel Ansah (DE)
Jason Jones (DE)
Ndamukong Suh (DT)
Nick Fairley (DT)
Devin Taylor (DE)
Darryl Tapp (DE)
Larry Webster (DE)
Caraun Reid (DT)
Andre Fluellen (DT)

Last year's opening day starters will stay intact as Jones gets his job back after coming off a knee injury. Behind Ansah, Jones, Suh and Fairley will be exciting young players like Taylor, Webster and Reid. Tapp and Fluellen are good, experienced backups.

Linebackers (7)

DeAndre Levy Lions
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Linebackers (7)

DeAndre Levy Lions
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DeAndre Levy (OLB)
Kyle Van Noy (OLB)
Stephen Tulloch (MLB)
Ashlee Palmer (OLB)
Tahir Whitehead (OLB)
Julian Stanford (MLB)
Travis Lewis (MLB)

Levy and Tulloch are no-brainers as starters while second-round pick Kyle Van Noy will beat out Ashlee Palmer for the other linebacker job. Palmer will continue to be a valuable special teams player along with backups Whitehead, Stanford and Lewis.

Secondary (9)

Glover Quin Lions
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Secondary (9)

Glover Quin Lions
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Darius Slay (CB)
Rashean Mathis (CB)
Glover Quin (S)
James Ihedigbo (S)
Bill Bentley (CB)
Nevin Lawson (CB)
Jonte Green (CB)
Don Carey (S)
DeJon Gomes (S)

Free agent James Ihedigbo joins Quin, Slay and Mathis as starters with a promising supporting cast rounding out the secondary. Bentley and Lawson will compete to be either the nickel or dime backs, and Carey has played both safety positions.

Special Teams (3)

Sam Martin Lions
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Special Teams (3)

Sam Martin Lions
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K Nate Freese
P Sam Martin
LS Don Muhlbach

Martin and Muhlbach return once again as starters at their respective positions while seventh-round pick Freese will beat out Giorgio Tavecchio to become the Lions' next placekicker.

Brian Kalchik is a writer for rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook, and connect with him on Google.