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Discussion: Which injured player are the Detroit Lions missing the most?

The Lions have lost a lot of key pieces since the start of the season.

NFL: NOV 23 Packers at Lions Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Detroit Lions being 8-3 and well in control of the NFC North is a sight to see. The fact that they’re doing so while missing so many key players for long stretches at a time is even bigger. Names like Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Ceedy Deuce, Emmanuel Moseley, and more are likely out for the season. Meanwhile, names like David Montgomery, Brian Branch, and Jonah Jackson have had extended bouts with various injuries. All in all, the Lions are relatively healthy when you compare it to the quarterback apocalypse afflicting so many teams this year, but there’s always a lingering question of what could have been.

Question of the day: Which injured player are the Lions missing the most?

My answer: I think it’s Emmanuel Moseley, even if we never got to really see him in a Lions uniform.

The current situation in the Lions secondary is that every cornerback seems to be playing a slot too high on the depth chart. Cameron Sutton has folded in recent weeks after playing well at CB1 for the first half of the season. Jerry Jacobs strung together a solid stretch as CB2, but he’s been picked on a lot lately as well. Insert a healthy Emmanuel Moseley as CB1 and shift everyone down one slot, and suddenly the Lions’ cornerback room looks a lot stronger than it is right now.

The safeties group is in a similar position—Tracy Walker has had some slip-ups in recent weeks, most notably on the opening drive against the Packers. He’s been stout in run defense and in short stints, but when asked to play the whole game, it feels like a matter of when, not if, he’ll let something go. That wasn’t the case in the limited sample size we saw from Ceedee Deuce prior to tearing his pectoral muscle, and makes you wonder how dynamic the safeties group could be if Tracy Walker could play exclusively in rotation.

It’s a next man up league, and the Lions have certainly had players step up to the plate — their record, if nothing else, is a testament to that. As long as the Lions keep their core pieces like Aidan Hutchinson, Penei Sewell, and Amon-Ra St. Brown intact, I feel confident in the depth of this roster to help fill other gaps. Although I must say, I’m worried about what the next few weeks will hold with Alex Anzalone out.

Which injured player do you think the Lions are missing the most? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.