The Detroit Lions have been at work for two weeks during their offseason, and already, have done a solid job to solidify a couple of the weaker spots on the roster.
Even though that is the case, the team still has some needs remaining that are clear and obvious, and that the team could look to improve upon the rest of the offseason and into the NFL draft.
So where should the work begin starting with the third wave of free agency and the offseason? Here’s a look at some of the positions ranked in order of how big a need they are to the Lions right now.
The Lions aren’t completely barren at the spot, with Alim McNeill and Isaiah Buggs primed to step up. Still, the team doesn’t have the kind of young impact makers or veteran bodies they enjoy on the edge.
At that spot, Aidan Hutchinson, James Houston and Romeo Okwara all offer some punch. Beyond McNeill, Buggs and periodically John Cominsky, the middle is the spot that seems the most primed for an upgrade, whether it comes via a trade or players from the 2023 NFL draft.
If the Lions do elect to add another player or two, the defensive interior makes the most sense. Detroit finished poorly in run defense last season, having allowed 2,491 yards on the ground and over 146 per-game, good for 29th in the league.
With one or two more rugged players for the interior line, the Lions would be in very good shape up front heading into the season.
By signing Alex Anzalone and bringing back Jalen Reeves-Maybin, the Lions did a good job to bring back players they know they can trust at the position. In addition to them, they have some potential young stars coming down the line.
Malcolm Rodriguez enjoyed a breakout rookie season, and Derrick Barnes is going to continue to scrap for a role with the team as he improves as a young player. Even with the additions of Anzalone and Reeves-Maybin, the team could use an impact player at the spot to help the defense take the next step.
Is it a veteran like Bobby Wagner? Perhaps, but the Lions could also look to the NFL draft to find another stud linebacker. The expectation is something else will be added to this very needy roster spot when all is said and done.
Last season, the Lions didn’t struggle much at tight end with the cast of characters they had, including Brock Wright, Shane Zylstra and James Mitchell. That’s a solid group in 2023, but more could be needed to give the team some bigger play potential.
The Lions could use a veteran presence in a young room, so finding a player to add to the mix in free agency could be the way to go for Detroit. A lower-cost option could make the most sense for the Lions, and a player like
Should the Lions not look at additions in free agency, it could be expected that the team adds another young player as the draft goes on. Either way, it feels as if the Lions are going to have to make one more move for this room to round out the roster.
Detroit lost DJ Chark, and with him went a trusted late-season target for Jared Goff. How will the team react to this? Arguably, the next move should be the addition of a veteran player with a bigger body to add some deep ball punch.
The Lions have a solid young core with names such as Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams and Josh Reynolds coming back. In addition to them, Kalif Raymond added some late-season punch in 2022. There isn’t a huge weakness, but the team could stand to have some more production to recoup the 502 yards and three scores they will lose from Chark.
More than likely, the team will look at adding a player in the draft as they have the last two years consecutively. If this takes place, expect that player to perhaps be a bigger bodied deep threat like Chark was.
Of all the needs the Lions have, quarterback is furthest down the list. Why? The Lions did address it by re-signing veteran Nate Sudfeld.
Even though Sudfeld is coming back, Detroit’s offseason lifting is not done at the position. The Lions could elect to find a player in the draft to develop behind both Sudfeld and Jared Goff, and it seems like a good bet the team will be shopping for that player starting in the second-round of the draft.
While the Lions could take a quarterback in the first-round, it’s more likely the team looks at it a bit later on in the draft and finds a player they can stash and develop. The signing of Sudfeld for another year makes it less likely Detroit looks at another veteran, so a young player could be the key.