A second-round pick in the 2002 draft, the 6'6" 265 pound Edwards has done little to nothing on the field to warrant his presence on the roster over the last two seasons. In 47 career-games, Edwards has amassed just 74 tackles, 13 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 7 passes defended. During his career, injuries have certainly been a factor. However, with rookie DE's Shaun Cody and Bill Swancutt ready to test their talents on the NFL level, Kalimba must take a major step forward in the next month or he could be staring unemployment in the face after the Lions final pre-season game versus the Buffalo Bills on September 2.
2. Chris Cash
Another 2002 draft choice (6th round) who has been plagued by the injury bug, the 5'10" 185 pound Cash was my choice as the Lions' 2002 Rookie of the Year (100 tackles, 1 interception, 10 passes defended, 1 forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries). However, after missing all of the 2003 season with a knee injury, he made just 30 tackles, 1 interception, 3 pass defenses and 1 forced fumble last season in 11 games. Cash really appears to have lost a step due to his injury problems and will have to really make an impact on special teams to avoid being on the bubble come September.
3. Andre Goodman
Like Edwards and Cash, Goodman was a part of the Lions 2002 draft class (3rd round). Also like Cash, Andre missed a major portion (13 games) of 2003 due to a knee injury. Last season, he again had various ailments and managed just 28 tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass defense and 1 forced fumble. With newcomers like veteran corner R.W. McQuarters, as well as second-year player Keith Smith and rookie Stanley Wilson in the secondary mix this summer, Goodman will have to be at his best to make it past the final cut.
Loverne was a major disappointment last season at left guard after signing as a free agent in March, 2004. He was benched last season after 13 games in favor of journeyman Matt Joyce, who has since been released. During the offseason, Detroit signed veteran guards Rick DeMulling, Brock Gutierrez and Rob Murphy. DeMulling is cemented in as a starter opposite Damien Woody, leaving the other three to fight over the one, possibly two, remaining backup guard spots. Unless the 6'3" 299 pound Loverne makes major progress this August, he could end up the odd man out.
5. Wali Rainer
Rainer has been a solid special teams player and reserve LB since signing with the Lions as an unrestricted free agent in 2003. But again, like the others on this list, the Lions have drafted younger players at his position. Over the past three seasons, Detroit has drafted Boss Bailey, James Davis, Alex Lewis, Teddy Lehman, Jonathan Goddard at the LB spot in hopes of gaining speed and depth across the board. With fellow veteran special teamer and reserve LB Donte' Curry signing a three-year contract extension at the end of last season, the 6'2" 240 pound Rainer looks like the odd man out unless he has a tremendous camp.
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