4 Lions who could be pushed off the roster by new additions

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Any time there is a regime change, there figures to be ample roster turnover. Most of it tends to happen quickly in the offseason. However, the draft and undrafted free agent signings can often serve as a catalyst for more roster churn.

This actually began as “five Lions”, but one of them is already gone. The Lions dumped running back Kerryon Johnson on Wednesday after three injury-marred seasons.

Which other holdover Lions could Johnson in being pushed off the new-look roster? Here are four leading candidates to not be with the team in 2021.

Jahlani Tavai

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Even with new head coach Dan Campbell's admission that the team will deploy a base 3-4 defensive scheme, which suits Tavai's skills better than a 4-3 front, the third-year LB shouldn't feel safe. The ideal position and role for Tavai is the one the team just drafted Derrick Barnes to play, and the fourth-round rookie is a significantly superior athlete. Tavai hasn't yet found a role where he can hang his hat at linebacker. His lack of range and inability to shed blocks well leave his future in Detroit very much in doubt.

Da'Shawn Hand

(AP Photo/Tony Ding)

Hand has played well in his first three seasons in Detroit--when he's been on the field. Staying on the field has been an issue for the defensive lineman, unfortunately. Hand has played in just 26 games in three seasons and has not looked like the same player in 2019-2020 that he did as an impressive rookie as a fourth-round pick in 2018. Much like Kerryon Johnson, the promising start to his Lions career simply hasn't taken hold due to the injuries and their impact. Drafting Levi Onwuzurike in the second round and adding veteran Michael Brockers at Hand's primary position does not bode well for Hand's future in Detroit.

Tyrell Crosby

(AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

Crosby lost his starting right tackle position when the Lions drafted fellow Oregon Duck lineman Penei Sewell in the first round. Now the fifth-rounder in 2018 could be on thin roster ice in Detroit. Crosby played capably as the starter most of the time. But the team effectively decided it wasn't good enough for them, and with Crosby entering the final year of his contract, it seems quite unlikely he has a long-term future in Detroit. Situations like that often result in both sides deciding it's better to break up now and explore different options before the season. The Lions do have Matt Nelson as a potential swing tackle and added a couple of undrafted free agents who could challenge for a developmental role.

Amani Oruwariye

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Oruwariye impressed as a fifth-round rookie in 2019, earning a starting CB role for 2020. Like much of the Lions defense in 2020, it simply did not go well for Oruwariye. Now the Lions have added Ifeatu Melifonwu in the draft and Quinton Dunbar in free agency. They're both outside corners like Oruwariye, and they're both higher-ceiling players. Speedy Mike Ford offers a different dimension, too. Unless there is a shift to safety in his immediate future, it's hard to see where Oruwariye fits on the Lions depth chart at CB. His poor tackling (a team-high 15 missed tackles in 2020) and tentative reactions in coverage don't seem to fit a move to safety, either.

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