The Lions took tremendous strides this offseason in addressing their positions of need.
Tight end, which was arguably the weakest position group on the team in 2018, is now one of the strongest after the Lions signed premier free agent tight end Jesse James and drafted T.J. Hockenson eighth overall.
The defensive line saw a big upgrade in the pass rushing department with the free agency signings of Trey Flowers and Mike Daniels.
Even the backup quarterback spot got an upgrade with the acquisition of Tom Savage, who has started nine games over the last three seasons for the Houston Texans.
In spite of all these upgrades, Thursday’s preseason game against the New England Patriots showed that the Lions still have a long way to go to matching up at some positions.
Question of the day: Which position remains the Lions’ biggest need?
My answer: Cornerback.
I thought about answering with guard, given the sheer lack of talent, or wide receiver, given the nightmarish lack of depth (especially after Jermaine Kearse’s injury), or even backup quarterback given we haven’t seen anything out of Josh Johnson yet.
Cornerback, however, seems to be the biggest problem. The Lions simply don’t have an answer at outside cornerback beyond Darius Slay. God forbid something happens to him, watching football games on Sundays will not be something I look forward to.
Rashaan Melvin has a track record of streaky play and is coming off a down year, and we still haven’t seen enough of him to know how he’ll fit in the defensive scheme. I love Amani Oruwariye as much as the next guy, but I’m a firm believer cornerback is the second-highest positional learning curve in the NFL behind quarterback, and Oruwariye has confirmed that with his inconsistent play thus far in camp.
Justin Coleman and Jamal Agnew have played well so far, but they’re much better in the slot, as evidenced by the worst-case scenario matchup of Jamal Agnew on N’Keal Harry we had to witness last week.
At the end of the day, it really feels like it’s a one-man show at outside corner, and the Lions could certainly afford to help themselves by bringing in some more guys at the position.