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Wednesday open thread: What will be the Lions’ biggest need heading into 2023?

Let’s peek ahead at the 2023 offseason.

NFL: JAN 09 Packers at Lions Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While we’re still reeling from the overhaul that took place this offseason, it’s never too early to look ahead. The 2023 Detroit Lions offseason is sure to be an interesting one regardless of outcome. If the new regime does well in year two, then it’ll be full of optimism with an expectation of playoffs in year three. If they don’t do too well, then inevitably some degree of pressure will be on them for year three.

How will the roster shape up though? Let’s take a look at the weakest position group heading into 2023.

Question of the day: What will be the Lions’ biggest need heading into 2023?

My answer: Running back.

Heading into 2023, Jamaal Williams is set to be a free agent. Likewise, third-down running back D’Andre Swift will have just a year left on his rookie contract. Oops, did I let that slip? Given his injury history and his strengths, I just don’t see him suddenly developing into a true RB1. Otherwise, we’re looking at rotational RB3s in guys like Godwin Igwebuike and Craig Reynolds as the roster stands right now.

Williams and Swift are a formidable duo when paired together, but neither is a true RB1 and losing either one leaves the running backs room quite depleted. While you don’t need a true bellcow running back in today’s NFL, you should still have a go-to guy, the role of which is now split by Williams and Swift depending on the down.

That brings us to the inevitable dreaded decision: do the Lions go out and pay a free agent running back, or spend a relatively high draft pick on one? In all likelihood, I see the Lions trying to extend Williams. He’ll be a 27-year-old free agent should he hit the market, but the Lions may not want him to even get that far given the kind of attitude and play he brings to the team. If that doesn’t happen though, look for Brad Holmes to nab a running back on day two of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Your turn. What position group will be the Lions’ biggest need heading into 2023? Let’s hear it.

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