In other words, they have a prime opportunity to improve over the next three days. That’s great news for the Lions, as they have plenty of need for improvement after a 3-12-1 season and a free agency period that saw just as much talent leave as arrive.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn has his work cut out for him, too. The Lions roster is passable right now, but they also have some clear areas of need on both sides of the ball. So after all of free agency, here are the top five needs for the Detroit Lions as they enter the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Lions likely have four starting offensive linemen on their roster right now: left tackle Taylor Decker, left guard Joe Dahl, center Frank Ragnow and whatever position the Lions plan on playing Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
If the Lions draft a tackle, Vaitai will likely slide to guard. If they draft a guard, Vaitai will likely play right tackle.
But even beyond that, Detroit could use an upgrade at left guard. While Dahl has played admirably for a former fifth-round pick, his play has essentially been replacement level. Don’t be surprised to see the Lions draft two offensive linemen this year.
The Lions have moved on from their No. 1 and No. 2 cornerbacks from last year after trading Darius Slay and letting Rashaan Melvin sign elsewhere in free agency.
Though the Lions signed Desmond Trufant to take over one of the outside cornerback jobs, the other remains wide open. At the moment, the only real candidate to step in and play is 2019 fifth-round pick Amani Oruwariye. At the very least, the Lions need to give him serious competition. More likely, however, Detroit just needs someone better to step in right away.
Gone are Mike Daniels, A’Shawn Robinson and Damon Harrison Sr. The Lions have touched on this need a little bit with the signings of Nick Williams and Danny Shelton. However, Williams will be 30 this year and only has one truly successful season under his belt. Meanwhile, Shelton has been a mostly rotational player over the past couple years.
The Lions could use another player to pair with Da’Shawn Hand that can bring some youth, versatility and run-stuffing ability to return Detroit’s defense to the level it was shortly after the Snacks trade in 2018.
The Lions are set for 2020 at wide receiver, but not a single player is signed beyond this season. While an extension for Kenny Golladay is the logical move this summer, the futures for Danny Amendola and Marvin Jones Jr. are a lot less clear. The former is turning 35 this year, and Detroit may not be inclined to pay Jones (30 years old) the big extension he’ll likely be seeking after handing Golladay a monster contract.
This is a great receiver depth class, so now would be a good year for the Lions to get younger and cheaper at the position.
Though Trey Flowers has one edge position locked down for the foreseeable future, the other side is not as clear. After the release of Devon Kennard, this team is lacking a true jack linebacker. They have player that can rotate at that position, including newly-signed Jamie Collins Sr. or even Jarrad Davis, but they’re lacking a player that can stay there in their base defense, unless they’re expecting a huge jump from 2019 fourth-round pick Austin Bryant.
Additionally, they could use a lot of depth behind Flowers. At the moment, the only depth at the position is Romeo Okwara.