The Detroit Lions are a team with a lot of flaws right now. This will be general manager Bob Quinn’s second career offseason, and it will be his most crucial. The Lions have severe deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball, while there are just as many questions on the offense.
But he will only be able to do so much. The Lions have a limited amount of cap space and only eight current draft picks to bolster their roster in one offseason. That’s a lot, but it may not be enough to take a borderline playoff team to a Super Bowl.
Instead, the Lions are going to have to rely on some members of their current roster to raise their play to a whole new level in 2017. Detroit currently has 28 players under 25 years old, meaning there are plenty of players with room to develop between now and the start of the regular season. So today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions player would you like to see the most improvement from in 2017?
My answer: Laken Tomlinson. We talked a lot on Tuesday about the future of Larry Warford. Right now, it appears that Warford may be too rich for the Lions’ blood and the easiest way for the Lions to absorb that blow would be if Tomlinson were to make a jump from his second to his third year in the NFL. Many point to the development of Travis Swanson from last season as inspiration for Tomlinson, but the situations are quite different. Swanson’s play prior to 2016 may have been limited by his shoulder injury, while it doesn’t appear Tomlinson had any significant injuries holding back his performance.
If Tomlinson could earn a starting job back and excel at it, the Lions would have a talented offensive lineman on a cheap rookie contract through the 2018 season and potentially through 2019, if the Lions choose to pick up his fifth-year option. Saving that sort of money on an offensive lineman is exactly how you build a team successful team. But Tomlinson has to bring the talent, first.