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Thursday open thread: What are the Detroit Lions’ top 3 needs for 2018?

We’re not quite at the offseason yet, but it’s time to start thinking about it.

There’s still a quarter of the season left for the 2017 Detroit Lions, and they still have an outside chance at making the postseason. However, things are starting to look gloomy around here, and not a lot of people seem all that interested in talking about Week 14’s matchup against the 4-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

So let’s take a break from the rest of the season and look forward to everyone’s favorite part of the Lions schedule: the offseason.

This may be the most important offseason yet for general manager Bob Quinn. The Lions are desperately trying to pull themselves out of mediocrity and finally make some strides to be a true contender. While Jim Caldwell has taken the most criticisms for this year’s failures, Quinn is starting to feel some of the heat from fans and analysts. His decision to largely ignore the defensive line in the offseason is particularly damning considering all the in-season changes he’s had to make, with no tangible results on the field.

So in order to make that next jump, Quinn is going to have to add some key players to a roster that needs boosting. Today’s Question of the Day is:

What are the Detroit Lions’ top three needs?

My answer:

Defensive end. This is long overdue. The Lions trotted nine different defensive end out there so far in 2017 and none of them are producing on a consistent level. Arguably their best defensive end, Ezekiel Ansah, can’t seem to get himself healthy and could possibly hit free agency next year. The Lions could get Kerry Hyder back next year, but that’s far from enough. The Lions likely need two additions here, because not only do the Lions lack quality starters, but they lack depth, too.

Defensive tackle. We may have witnessed the last of Haloti Ngata in the NFL after a torn bicep ended his season. Even if Ngata decides to give it one more ride, the Lions cupboard is equally bare here. Outside of A’Shawn Robinson, the Lions don’t have a quality starter, nor any reliable depth.

Much like at defensive end, Quinn shuffled through an endless cast of defensive tackles, struggling to find a rotational piece that fit. Caraun Reid, Khyri Thornton and now Christian Ringo all have found their way in and out of the lineup, and none of them have been successful. The Lions need a starter here, but they could also use a body or two as depth.

Center/Guard. The future of Travis Swanson is unknown, but if I had to guess today, I would think his time in Detroit will end after the 2017 season. It always seemed like the plan was to have Graham Glasgow at center, and he’s played well enough there in his two starts at the position this year.

That means the Lions should be looking for a new left guard this offseason. The Lions’ running game has been just awful, and it doesn’t seem like it will get any better with their current cast of backups. On paper, this looks to be the final piece of the puzzle for an offensive line that has cost the Lions dearly in free agency and the draft. Get this piece and figure out how to use them best, and maybe Matthew Stafford can finish a season without a mangled hand for once.

Your turn.

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