What needs remain based on Lions' current depth chart?

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

A projection of the Detroit Lions' current depth chart reveals what needs they still have to address this offseason.

The 2014 NFL offseason is far from over for the Detroit Lions. Not only do they still have the draft in a couple months, but there will certainly be more moves made this month as free agency continues. While we wait for those additional moves to happen, let's take a look at where everything stands right now for the Lions. Here's a guess at what their depth chart might look like if the season started today:

OFFENSE
Pos. First string Second string Third string Fourth string
QB Matthew Stafford Kellen Moore

RB Reggie Bush Joique Bell Mikel Leshoure Theo Riddick
Steven Miller
FB Montell Owens


WR Calvin Johnson Kris Durham Kevin Ogletree Corey Fuller
Carlin Isles
WR Golden Tate Ryan Broyles Jeremy Ross Patrick Edwards
Cody Wilson
TE Brandon Pettigrew Michael Williams

TE Joseph Fauria Matt Veldman

LT Riley Reiff Corey Hilliard

LG Rob Sims Rodney Austin

C Dominic Raiola Darren Keyton

RG Larry Warford


RT LaAdrian Waddle


On offense, several needs jump out. For starters, the Lions need a backup quarterback with some experience, and they could use a more traditional fullback if they truly plan to include that position in their offense going forward. Also, they are still in need of an upgrade in the talent department at wide receiver, especially considering Ryan Broyles' health is such a big question mark. And on the offensive line, there is really just a lack of depth right now.

DEFENSE
Pos. First string Second string Third string Fourth string
LE Jason Jones Devin Taylor

DT Ndamukong Suh Vaughn Martin Jimmy Saddler-McQueen
DT Nick Fairley C.J. Mosley Corvey Irvin Xavier Proctor
RE Ziggy Ansah Darryl Tapp

OLB Ashlee Palmer Tahir Whitehead Jon Morgan
MLB Stephen Tulloch Travis Lewis Julian Stanford
OLB DeAndre Levy Cory Greenwood Brandon Hepburn
LCB Chris Houston Bill Bentley

SS Glover Quin DeJon Gomes

FS Don Carey Isa Abdul-Quddus Akwasi Owusu-Ansah
RCB Darius Slay Jonte Green Chris Greenwood

On defense, there are really three majors need remaining at this point. In the front seven, they could use another pass rusher. Whether that means a defensive end or an outside linebacker remains to be seen, but that's one area where more talent is needed. In the secondary, there are really two needs. The Lions could use a veteran to add more depth at cornerback, and they could use a starting-caliber player at safety. Assuming they do in fact add James Ihedigbo in the near future, he would step in at strong safety and Glover Quin would slide over to free safety.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Pos. First string Second string Third string Fourth string
K Giorgio Tavecchio John Potter
P Sam Martin
HLD Sam Martin
KO Sam Martin Giorgio Tavecchio John Potter
LS Don Muhlbach
KR Jeremy Ross
PR Jeremy Ross

The order at kicker is just a complete guess at this point since neither player is viewed as that much more talented than the other. With this in mind, it wouldn't be surprising if the Lions add another kicker later in the offseason (either via a draft pick or by signing an undrafted free agent). There is also some uncertainty in the return game with the addition of Golden Tate. He said last week that he would like to be in the mix to return punts, but Jeremy Ross excelled in that role last season. For now, I'm just going to leave Ross as the only person on the depth chart at both return spots since we don't know what Jim Caldwell's plans are just yet for those roles.

Looking at the Lions' depth chart, it seems likely that they will add a backup quarterback and a starting safety sooner rather than later. Positions like wide receiver, center and outside linebacker, just to name a few, can probably wait to be addressed until the draft. Then, once that is complete, the Lions can take another look at their roster and fill in whatever gaps are left by revisiting free agency.

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