If you told me that in December of 2022 the Lions would be playing for more than just a draft pick I would have called you crazy. The Lions have set themselves up with a not so easy, but a path to the playoffs.The Lions control their own destiny at this point and they have been playing the best football I have seen since the Jim Caldwell days. Dan Campbell has this team running and working, focusing on physicality and winning at the line of scrimmage has rejuvenated what was seen as another throw away season. With that being said there are still some glaring holes that need to be addressed if the Lions want to accelerate this rebuild even more.
If you would have asked me week 7 what I thought this defense needed I would have told you a whole new eleven. This defense has come around majorly and I think a few of these guys have solidified roles for the future. Our safeties look like they are locked up with Kerby Joseph the star rookie and the tandem of a future healthy Tracy Walker and Deshonn Eliott. Our edge rushers turned it up a big notch with Hutchinsons great play and fan favorite James Houston coming out of seemingly nowhere. Alim Mcneil is a great player on the inside but I feel like they could benefit greatly from another disrupter up the middle. (Jalen Carter please) The linebacking group leaves a lot to desire, even with Alex Anzalones recent play I don’t think he is going to be a part of the future. Malcolm Rodriguez has slowed down as of late but he is a great player and going to be just fine. A good on ball linebacker should be a key need this upcoming off season. The free agent class is not great but I have faith in Brad Holmes. Corner is going to be a big need this off-season, outside of Jerry Jacobs and Jeff Okudah there really isn’t much there. This team needs another true boundary corner, I don’t know if I can watch another game where Mike Hughes and Will Harris get consistently burned. I think that they should move Okudah to the slot, keep Jacobs outside and draft a guy like Joey Porter Jr or Kelee Ringo with our pick. Filling any of these holes and just adding depth would improve this team instantly.
`I think the offense is going to be fine next year as long as Ben Johnson is here to stay. He has completely revived Jared Goff’s career, while I am not sold on Goff as a player it seems as if the front office is. I am fine with keeping Goff but I do believe that his ceiling is not as high as what we could possibly get in the draft with a guy like Levis, Stroud, Young or even Anthony Richardson down the board. There have been rumors about a possible Lamar Jackson signing or trade, obviously these are very far fetched but I hope that nobody would be opposed to that. This offense really doesn’t have any other holes, maybe an upgrade at right guard. A starting caliber tight end if the right one arrives. (no first round tight ends anymore please) Even another receiver could be useful, DJ Chark could be on his way out so they will need to find a replacement via draft or free agency.
With all of this being said I believe that the Lions can finally take that next step sooner rather than later.