Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 5/21/12
Offense:
 
Quarterback:  Matthew Stafford:  The 2011 season was a tremendous and breakthrough season for Stafford.  After starting only 13 games in his first two seasons, Stafford started in every game in 2011, and was one of the top passers with 5,038 yards for 41 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.  Look for Stafford to have another great year spreading the ball to his numerous targets
 
Running Back:  Mikel Leshoure:  Detroit has never had a great running back ever since Barry Sanders left them.  I think that Leshoure is going to be the choice for Detroit to start coming out of training camp, with the high chance of Jahvid Best getting another concussion, Leshoure has a chance to prove himself in training camp.  He will have to prove himself too after being arrested on marijuana charges in the off-season. 
 
Wide Receiver:  Calvin Johnson:  Calvin Johnson is no doubt the best receiver in the NFL right now.  After having a stellar 2011 season in which he had 96 receptions for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns, Johnson is on par to become one of the best receivers to ever play in the NFL.  With a great quarterback like Stafford and other wide receiver threats, watch for Megatron to have another stellar year.
 
Wide Receiver:  Nate Burleson:  Burleson is not only a good second receiver for Detroit but is also a great team leader.  Last year, Burleson had 73 receptions for 757 yards and three touchdowns.  He has a huge impact in the locker room and in the pre-game, as he is seen in the middle of the team leading the break-down before nearly every game.  Look for Burleson teamed with Titus Young to have great years this year.
 
Tight End:  Brandon Pettigrew:  Pettigrew is a very good tight end that has just one fatal flaw in his game.  He drops passes, a lot.  Pettigrew is one of the better tight ends Detroit has had and is no doubt going to be one of the two starters that Detroit uses.  Last year, Pettigrew had 83 receptions for 777 yards and 11 touchdowns.
 
Tight End:  Tony Scheffler:  Scheffler is a good second tight end for Detroit to have, considering they usually run a two-tight end set, especially last year not having a fullback.  Scheffler didn’t have a stellar year last year catching only 26 passes for 347 yards and six touchdowns, but he did provide great entertainment with his different touchdown dances.
 
Offensive Tackles:  Jeff Backus, LT, and Gosder Cherilus, RT:  Backus is a good left tackle for Detroit and protected Stafford very well last year.  As Backus gets older though, his play starts diminishing, and with a sub-par running offensive line, Backus needs to be a leader.  Cherilus on the other hand is not a great right tackle, but Detroit has nothing better.  Riley Rieff whom Detroit drafted this year will probably become the left tackle once Backus retires, so there is nothing for him to do but wait for Backus to retire, or Cherilus to screw up.
 
Offensive Guards:  Rob Sims, LG, and Stephen Peterman, RT:  Sims is a very good right tackle and provide some good opportunity for the bad running game Detroit usually has to run on the left side.  Opposite Sims is Peterman, who is not very well liked in Detroit.  Peterman is known for his numerous false start penalties that he can get in games, but there is no one better for Detroit to start, unless they feel like putting Rieff in as a guard.
 
Center:  Dominic Raiola:  Raiola is a leader on the Detroit team.  He is a good center for Detroit and seemed to work well with Stafford last year.  Returning for another year guarantees the Raiola will be the starting center, as Detroit picked up no one in the draft to replace him.  He is someone who is getting older, but a captain on the team and someone to lead the offensive players.
 
Defense:
 
Defensive Ends:  Kyle Vanden Bosch, RE, Cliff Avril, LE:  Vanden Bosch is a leader of the defensive side of the ball, and a ferocious looking player when he puts in his red contacts.  Last year, Vanden Bosch recorded 26 tackles and eight sacks, dropping off from his older totals.  He is still a good defensive end and will start.  Avril had a career season last year and because of contract disagreements, was franchise tagged this year.  Avril refuses to go to camp until getting a new deal, which will eventually come.  Recording 11 sacks and 30 tackles, along with six forced fumbles and three recoveries should make Detroit work hard to get him to camp as soon as possible.
 
Defensive Tackles:  Ndamukong Suh and Corey Williams:  These two players are a force to be reckoned with when they are both playing at their best.  Suh last year had a bad year, especially after a stellar rookie season, but look for him to come back to light and have another great year.  Williams, who had 22 tackles and two sacks last season, will also play better, especially with the double team that is usually put on Suh.
 
Outside Linebackers:  DeAndre Levy, ROLB, Justin Durant, LOLB:  Levy was moved to right outside linebacker last season with the addition of Stephen Tulloch.  He is back where he started in the 2009 season.  Last season, he recorded one sack, one interception and 73 tackles.  Durant had a good season last year recording 68 tackles and one sack, and look for him to have an even better year this season.
 
Middle Linebacker:  Stephen Tulloch:  Tulloch was a great addition for Detroit last season and was re-signed by Detroit again this season in a great move.  He is another leader on the defense and can provide help through his experience to everyone around him.  Last season, he recorded 92 tackles and three sacks, along with two interceptions.  Look for him to have another great year.
 
Cornerbacks:  Chris Houston and Aaron Berry:  Houston had a good season last year even with missing three games.  He had five interceptions for 225 yards and two touchdowns.  He also recorded 46 tackles.  He is the number one cornerback on a defense that had a bad season when it came to defending receivers.  This doesn’t help either with the loss of Eric Wright.  Berry will have to step up in camp to become the starter, and not lose his spot to the many rookies that were drafted this season.
 
Strong Safety:  Amari Spievey:  Spievey had a sub-par season with Detroit when it came to defending receivers.  He gave up some big plays a few times during the season, but was still able to record 70 tackles and three interceptions.  Spievey has to have a better season this year to keep his starting job.
 
Free Safety:  Louis Delmas:  As a Detroit fan, it seemed like Delmas was gone half the season last year, and it seemed like the defensive backfield missed the spark that he provides when playing.  Last season in his 11 games, Delmas only had 43 tackles and no interceptions.  Look for Delmas to have a great year and hopefully motivate the defensive backs to play better.

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