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Wednesday open thread: How should the Lions fill their DT need?

With veteran DT Calais Campbell headed to the Atlanta Falcons, what route should the Detroit Lions look towards in order to fill their biggest need at defensive tackle?

NFL: OCT 23 Lions at Cowboys Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Well, that dream didn’t last too long. Shortly after the Detroit Lions let the world know that they were indeed in on potentially adding Pro Bowl defensive tackle Calais Campbell to their roster, the Atlanta Falcons beat them to it—signing Campbell to a one-year deal.

Despite missing out on the likes of Campbell, the Lions have largely had a busy and successful offseason thus far. General manager Brad Holmes wasted little time, seemingly diving headfirst into the free agency pool. And after a 2022 season in which the secondary failed to meet expectations and had depth issues all over, Holmes quickly bolstered that position group—adding the likes of defensive backs Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley, and C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Similar to how Holmes has flipped position rooms over in the course of one offseason, he is now well on his way to doing that with the backend of the Lions’ defense.

Staying on the defensive side of the ball, Holmes also went to work on bringing back several key members of the 2022 defense that were responsible for the unit’s turnaround over the back-half of the year. Linebacker Alex Anzalone was brought back on a three-year contract, and defensive linemen Isaiah Buggs and John Cominsky will also be back in Detroit.

Still, even though improvements have been made all over the roster and players like Buggs and Cominsky will be back in the fold, there is still a glaring need in the middle of the Lions’ defense next to third-year defensive tackle Alim McNeill. Just listen to what Holmes had to say regarding Buggs and his role moving forward with the team.

“Buggs is a very talented player,” Holmes said. “The real thing with Buggs is that I think he’ll be even better if everything works out in terms of—he had to play a lot of snaps last year. More snaps than we would’ve liked him to play, but due to the circumstances he just had to.”

Today’s Question of the Day is:

How should the Lions fill their DT need?

My answer: The obvious answer here would be in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, and if you ask me—the earlier this position is addressed, the better. Like Campbell said above, Buggs is a good player, and will definitely be part of the rotation the Lions employ up front. But adding a true difference-maker next to McNeill on the interior would be a game-changer for this defense.

The most disruptive force on a defense is a game-wrecking, pocket-collapsing interior presence. Offenses can’t chip him, or roll the quarterback away from his side. When an interior defensive lineman can consistently generate pressure up the middle and get a quarterback off of his spot, good things tend to happen for the defense. Adding a player that can do this should be the Lions’ number one remaining priority as the offseason moves forward.

What about you? How do you think the Lions should fill their DT need? Let us know in the comments.

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