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Saturday open thread: What is the Lions’ biggest need this offseason?

The start of free agency is less than a month away, so what is at the top of Detroit’s shopping list?

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Los Angeles Rams Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The anticipation for what lies ahead for the Detroit Lions this offseason isn’t the run-of-the-mill hype most Lions fans get caught up in this time of year. It feels different because this is the next step in Detroit’s rebuild, their first calculated approach at doing such in over a decade.

The Athletic recently published an article chronicling the biggest offseason needs for all 32 NFL teams, and at the top of Detroit’s wishlist shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Chris Burke, the Lions beat writer for The Athletic shared his thoughts on the safety situation in Detroit:

The Lions have a big decision to make on safety Tracy Walker, who’s set to be a free agent off a career-high 108 tackles. In any case, general manager Brad Holmes probably needs to find two safeties capable of starting — maybe three, if Walker exits. There is not a more important position to defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn’s scheme. And the Lions could turn their attention to Glenn’s former team, New Orleans, for a fix. Both Marcus Williams and hybrid DB P.J. Williams will be appealing here.

The draft offers a ton of safety depth, too, starting as high as the top five with Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton. Detroit just coached several intriguing safety prospects at the Senior Bowl, with Baylor’s Jalen Pitre a standout among them.

All this leads us to today’s Question of the Day...

What is the Lions' biggest need this offseason?

Earlier this week, Jeremy proposed the question of what is Detroit’s most important decision to make this offseason and landed on the same position as Burke: safety.

For today’s question, let’s focus on what is Detroit’s biggest need this offseason, which arguably could be safety, but I think the return of Walker is almost a foregone conclusion. I think the safety market is flooded with talent this offseason, and that oversaturation is going to drive down the price of a player like Walker who isn’t quite in the same tier as guys like Jessie Bates III, Marcus Williams, and Jordan Whitehead at this point. With Walker back in the fold, safety is still a need, but it isn’t as pressing as the need for an EDGE defender in Detroit.

Looking at Detroit’s current situation at defensive end, the Lions have a pair of young rotational players in Julian Okwara and Austin Bryant, but neither has proven to be effective beyond situational settings in limited snaps. Romeo Okwara, Brad Holmes' first big-time contract he handed out as general manager in Detroit, is coming off an Achilles injury and it’s hard to know how ready he’ll be by season’s start. Beyond that, the Lions have a huge decision to make with Charles Harris who had a career year with Detroit last season and made himself a ton of money in the process. The Lions have such a glaring need at defensive end, it’s often the most popular pick for Detroit to make with their second overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

If you’re thinking of what position would have the biggest impact on the Lions' defense in 2022, it’s undoubtedly the EDGE position, and it remains the biggest need for Detroit heading into the offseason.

Your turn.

Poll

What is the Lions’ biggest need this offseason?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    EDGE
    (900 votes)
  • 13%
    Safety
    (272 votes)
  • 24%
    Linebacker
    (511 votes)
  • 16%
    Wide receiver
    (347 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (41 votes)
2071 votes total Vote Now