The Detroit Lions achieved a lot in 2022 despite missing the playoffs, and their starters played a significant role. But with the offseason finally in the books, is there a chance that one or more of these starters lose their role come the 2023 season?
While stars like Amon-Ra St. Brown and Penei Sewell obviously shined bright and earned national praise, many starters flew under the radar outside of Detroit. Alex Anzalone took plenty of flak in 2021, his first season in Detroit, yet 2022 was a solid rebound season for a player that became a key backbone of the defense. Fellow linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez shocked many by earning a starting role as a rookie sixth rounder. Isaiah Buggs went from a training camp afterthought to a 750-snap campaign.
However, being a starter last season does not guarantee a starting role this season. For one, the offseason was spent trying to strengthen depth and potentially weaker starting spots. Additionally, even if a player had a successful earlier season, it is still a difficult task to repeat it. You need look no further than cornerback Amani Oruwariye, whose awful 2022 season erased any positive memories from the year before.
With so many new names added to the training camp mix, which players are at risk of losing their title of starter?
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Which 2022 starters could lose their starting role in 2023?
My answer: I’ll pick a player on offense and defense.
On offense, the obvious pick is Brock Wright. Wright played well enough in a post-T.J. Hockenson Lions offense, but him earning the title of starter was more a byproduct of the tight end room. That will undoubtedly change in 2023 thanks to the addition of Sam LaPorta. LaPorta might not earn the starting spot right away, but it seems inevitable given his draft status. Wright is a good blocker, but unless it jumps into elite territory, he will likely cede snaps to LaPorta by season’s end.
On defense, Rodriguez is my pick despite the promising rookie season, and it is again due to an Iowa Hawkeye rookie. Jack Campbell, chosen in the first round, is likely the heir apparent to Anzalone in the linebacking group, but he is still a strong candidate to start by Week 1. Between Campbell, Rodriguez, and Derrick Barnes, there are multiple athletic young linebackers that could earn a starting spot across from Anzalone (the Lions typically roll with two linebackers versus three). Rodriguez might not be a full-time starter in 2023, but I would still expect him to be a valuable contributor.
Which starters do you think might lose their spot this season?