Inside the Article:
The Detroit Lions are coming off a surprising 9-8 season and are currently the betting favorites to win the NFC North. However, in order to win the division, they will need to address some major issues on the defensive side of the ball. In this article, we will rank the Lions' three biggest off-season needs.
- The Lions' biggest needs are at cornerback, interior defensive line, and linebacker.
- The Lions finished 31st in yards per attempt allowed and 23rd in pass defense DVOA.
- The Lions must add a starting quarterback or two
- The Lions should prioritize upgrading the defensive tackle position.
- The Lions need to add competition at linebacker.
Need #1 – Cornerback:
The Lions' current cornerback group includes Jeff Okudah, who was benched towards the end of last season, an undrafted player (Jerry Jacobs), and three players with minimal NFL experience. The hope is that Okudah takes a big step forward in 2023, but that is no guarantee. Look for the Lions to add a starting CB or possibly two via free agency and/or the upcoming NFL Draft.
Need #2 – Interior Defensive Line:
The Lions struggled to generate pressure from the interior last season and were one of the worst run defenses in the league. They currently have only three defensive tackles on the roster, and it's unclear whether Levi Onwuzurike will play a significant role next year (I am not counting on it). The Lions should view defensive tackles as one of their highest priorities and look to build significant depth.
Need #3 – Linebacker:
The Lions have only two linebackers under contract, and it's uncertain whether their free agents will return. While Malcolm Rodriguez and Derrick Barnes showed potential, the Lions need to add competition at the position if they want to take the next step.
Bottom Line – The Detroit Lions Must Address All Three Levels of Their Defense:
If the Lions want to take the next step and truly compete for the NFC North, they must make additions at all three levels of their defense. They need to add starting-caliber players at cornerback, interior defensive line, and linebacker to improve their defense. If they can address these needs, the Lions could be a surprise Super Bowl contender in 2023. Yep, I said it!