The Detroit Lions were one of the most surprising teams of the 2022 NFL, finishing with a 9-8 winning record after starting a measly 1-6 through their first seven games. The Lions showed plenty of improvement throughout the year, with several players emerging as potential cornerstone pieces for the franchise. With that being said, The Lions still have to address several key positions on the team this offseason. Here are the five positions that will need the most attention this offseason.
No, I do not think that The Detroit Lions should replace Jared Goff this offseason. Goff was great in 2022, passing for over 4,400 yards, 29 touchdowns, and earning a pro bowl nod, the 28 year old signal caller did more than enough to secure his spot in Detroit for next season. With that being said, the Detroit Lions will need to address his backup. The backup quarterback is the least important position on a football team, until it’s not. Fortunately for Detroit, Jared Goff played in every game this season, and has shown to be quite reliable when it comes to his availability. But if Goff were to go down, do we really trust backup quarterback Nate Sudfield to man the offense?
There will be plenty of solid backup quarterbacks on the free agent market this offseason. For example, it would be wise to add the likes of Jacoby Brissett, Mike White, Taylor Heinicke, or Drew Lock. Or potentially, The Lions could opt to draft a young quarterback to develop behind Goff for the future.
3. Right Guard
Starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai missed the entirety of the 2022 NFL season due to injury, and will likely be a cap casualty this offseason. While Evan Brown did well enough filling in for Vaitai, he is also going to be a free agent this offseason. The offensive line is perhaps Detroit’s strongest position group, and a group is only as strong as its weakest link. Addressing the right guard position will be necessary to ensure Goff and the running game can operate to par.
While there are no big-name guards in the free agent market this offseason, there are several cheap starters that Detroit can bring in. Players like Dalton Risner, Nate Davis, or Ben Powers could all be solid additions to the offensive front.
2. Defensive Tackle
One of the more glaring needs on The Detroit Lions, Brad Holmes and co. has to address the interior of the defensive front. While Alim McNeil has been solid at nose tackle, Detroit would have to bring in another defensive tackle in the three tech. Isaiah Buggs is set to be a free agent, and while he was good down the stretch during the season, the interior of the defense lacks depth. Bringing in young talent in the draft would make sense, as prospects such as Bryan Bressee and Jalen Carter would fit Detroit’s scheme.
Perhaps the most pressing need with The Detroit Lions is the cornerback position. Detroit has enlisted premier draft capital at the position, spending a top 3 pick in the draft on Jeff Okudah in 2020. Okudah has had his ups and downs throughout his career, but has shown that he is at minimum capable of being a starting cornerback in the NFL. Jerry Jacobs lines up opposite of Okudah, and has shown he can be a solid depth piece, but Detroit would be foolish not to improve the position through the draft this season.
The good news for Detroit is that the 2023 NFL draft is rich at the cornerback position. There are plenty of great young cornerbacks in this draft class, with the likes of Devon Witherspoon, Joey Porter Jr., and Christian Gonzales.