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Tuesday open thread: What is the Detroit Lions’ biggest need?

The Lions are 1-5. They need help. Where do they need it most?

Seattle Seahawks v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

In the NFL news cycle, we hardly talk about team needs in the middle of the season. That is a topic usually left for discussion in the winter prior to free agency and the NFL draft.

But for the 1-5 Detroit Lions, some of the focus on the franchise’s future has been pushed to the here and now. Despite some signs of progress this week against the Dallas Cowboys, no one would mistake the Lions for a playoff-bound team. They are the worst team in football by record, and that means it’s time to consider how we think they can improve for next season.

There are no shortage of needs on this depth chart right now. The defense may be trending in the right direction, but the roster is still devoid of playmakers and the overall unit is still among the worst in the league. The offense has great potential, as we saw in the first few weeks of the season, but there are a lot of pieces that seemingly can’t be counted on to stay healthy.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

What is the Detroit Lions’ biggest need right now?

My answer: I suppose we’re in for a bunch of cynical responses like “a competent head coach” or “a new owner.” There are also going to be long conversations about Jared Goff that follow—and, yeah, quarterback should be pretty high on this team’s list (as it should be for any team that does not have a clear franchise quarterback).

But I think the Lions’ biggest need right now is a top-tier cornerback to pair with Jeff Okudah. Detroit has shuffled its secondary all season, partially because of injury, partially because of poor play. Amani Oruwariye reclaimed the starting position against the Cowboys after being previously benched. However, with Oruwariye in the final year of his contract, it’s hard to be confident he’ll hold that spot next year. Detroit doesn’t really have a developmental option beyond Oruwariye. Some may argue Jerry Jacobs is that guy—and maybe they’re right—but I see him more as a decent backup who has a lot of special teams value.

Okudah is coming off the best game of his career according to coach Dan Campbell, but the secondary is only as good as its weakest link. All we have to do is go back to the Vikings game to highlight that. Okudah shut down Justin Jefferson’s side of the field (with safety help), but Kirk Cousins eventually started attacking Oruwariye and that won the game for the Vikings.

If the Lions could find a very good second cornerback, there’s a good chance they’d immediately improve a defense that currently ranks 32nd in passes defended, t-30th in interceptions, 31st in yards per attempt allowed and 30th in passer rating allowed.

Your turn.

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