The Detroit Lions’ front office has done a wonderful job so far of acquiring talent and speeding up the rebuild, at least on paper. They have focused a lot of resources towards bulking up their defensive line, and they already seem to have a powerhouse of an offensive line unit. That’s a great start.
Despite all of the optimism surrounding this team, the reality is that they’re still far away from contending and still have many holes to fill for the future. That can be expected for Year 2 of a new regime.
Today’s Question of the Day is...
What is the biggest concern for the Lions in 2022?
My answer: Linebackers and safeties.
I’m cheating here by picking two position groups, but I cannot for the life of me choose which I’m more concerned about. The starting linebacker corps is very concerning, but the lack of depth at safety also makes a strong case.
The Lions added a couple depth pieces at linebacker through the draft in Malcolm Rodriguez and James Houston this year, but the starting lineup is still very suspect at best. Derrick Barnes is looking to be a key contributor after a very up and down rookie year, while Alex Anzalone remains a starter despite a poor 2021 season. The good news is they should have a much easier time playing behind a more stout defensive line group in front of them. We’ll see how that goes for them.
By all accounts, Rodriguez seems to be a solid addition considering how much the coaching staff loves his football IQ and the way he plays the game. We’ll see if he can earn some snaps over guys like Jarrad Davis, Houston, and Chris Board, or if he’ll just be a special teams guy in his rookie year.
At safety, it’s just Tracy Walker and friends. Rookie Kerby Joseph is probably going to come along slowly and might not be ready to unseat DeShon Elliot right away, but at least the future seems a little more bright at safety. There still isn’t clarity surrounding the third safety role. Will Will Harris continue to start in this role? Is this what Ifeatu Melifonwu is being groomed for? If you can get anything close to average production out of this role, that should be a win.
LB and safety have been two of the most neglected areas on this team since the new regime arrived, but defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn has proven that he is one of the best in the business at working with scraps and making due. It’s looking like he will have another tough challenge ahead of himself in 2022, however.