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Where the Lions roster stands: Defensive tackle

A breakdown of the Detroit Lions' defensive tackles and what needs they may have at the position.

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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

As a precursor to free agency and the NFL Draft, we are going to take a look at each position on the Detroit Lions roster. We continue the series with a look at the Lions' defensive tackles.

Under contract: Ndamukong Suh (2014 + player option for 2015), Nick Fairley (2014 + team option for 2015), C.J. Mosley (2014), Corvey Irvin (2014), Jimmy Saddler-McQueen (2015), Xavier Proctor (2015)

Free agents: Andre Fluellen (UFA)

Throughout last offseason, we heard about how the Lions may have the best defensive tackle tandem in all of the NFL. I don't know if I'm ready to declare that to be true, but Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley definitely have the potential to be the very best pairing in the league. Suh was an All-Pro again last season, and Fairley had a pretty good season as well with 6 sacks in 15 games. If both players keep improving, especially Fairley, it will be safe to say that the Lions have the NFL's top pair of starters at defensive tackle.

Moving down the depth chart, C.J. Mosley is back again as the Lions' top backup at this position. He graded out quite well on Pro Football Focus despite not putting up big stats, and his presence gives the Lions solid depth in their rotation.

Behind Mosley, the Lions have Corvey Irvin, who was just signed, as well as Jimmy Saddler-McQueen and Xavier Proctor, who both spent 2013 on the practice squad. With Andre Fluellen set to become a free agent, Irvin, Saddler-McQueen and Proctor could potentially be battling for a spot on the 53-man roster by the time training camp rolls around, but that's really dependent on if the Lions add any other defensive tackles this offseason.

Need going forward?

From a talent standpoint, this position is in excellent shape. The Lions could use a fourth defensive tackle to really solidify the rotation, but as we found out last year, that could simply mean re-signing Fluellen for another go-around. It shouldn't be tough to fill that final backup spot, and the Lions could decide to simply give Irvin, Saddler-McQueen or Proctor a shot. I suppose they could also elect to draft somebody, and with uncertainty surrounding the contracts of Suh and Fairley beyond 2014, that might actually make some sense.

Previously: Quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, offensive guard, center, defensive end

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