2016 Detroit Lions Offseason Positional Needs
Detroit Lions Team Needs
After a disappointing 2015 season, where the team failed to make the playoffs, the Detroit Lions hired a new general manager in Bob Quinn. Quinn and the Detroit front office will have roughly $35 Million in cap space, and if All-Pro Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson decides to indeed follow through with his retirement announcement, the Lions will gain even more cap room.
In addition to the cap space, the Lions also have a plethora of draft picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. The team was awarded two compensatory picks, including a third rounder for the loss of Ndamukong Suh in free agency. The Lions also have two picks in the fifth and sixth rounds.
With a healthy free agency and a fruitful draft in the future, the Lions are primed to improve on the 7-9 record that left them looking up in the NFC North in 2015.
1. Offensive Tackle
The Detroit Lions running game ranked dead last in the NFL throughout the 2015 season. Although much of that result could be attributed to the lackluster running back room, the offensive line did not help. Matt Stafford also felt his fair share of pressure during the season. The franchise quarterback was sacked 44 times.
The best way to build an offensive line is through the draft. The Lions are sitting at the 16th overall pick and could be in the running for a top-off-the-line book end tackle. Ohio State’s Taylor Decker and Michigan State’s Jack Conklin would both be great fits in the middle of the first round.
2. Wide Receiver
With the news of Calvin Johnson’s sudden retirement, the Lions have a gaping hole at the wide receiver position. While Golden Tate is talented, he is not enough to lead an offense.
Chicago's Alshon Jeffery is the top wide receiver set to hit free agency this offseason, but even that is not guaranteed. So again, one of the best ways to find the next number one target would be through the draft.
3. Defensive Tackle
The loss of Ndamukong Suh last offseason left the Detroit defensive line with some big shoes to fill. Free agent acquisition Haloti Ngata underwhelmed big time, and may not be with the team next season.
Jarran Reed out of Alabama would be an ideal pick in the first round, as well as rising star Sheldon Rankins from Louisville. This draft is loaded with interior defensive line depth, so the Lions will definitely need to take advantage.
Corey Brewer is a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. For more NFL and NFL draft coverage, follow @BrewerIPA on Twitter.