Another disappointing season has come to an end for the Detroit Lions in the Motor City. Despite an 11-5 record and another playoff berth, the Detroit Lions were unable to go anywhere once again, losing in the Wild Card Round to the Dallas Cowboys 24-20. Sure, the referees robbed the Lions of their victory; but at the end of the day the Lions were knocked out after only one game.
The Lions certainly had a lot of potential early in the season. They beat their NFC North rival Green Bay Packers 19-7 early in the season, and for a while the Lions actually boasted the best defense in the NFL over both the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.
The Lions are an odd case. It seems that every season they have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, but they never do anything with it. With Ndamukong Suh’s contract ending, the Lions may lose their best defensive player; and that will certainly leave a hole in their defense. On offense, the Lions have Calvin Johnson. Really I shouldn’t have to mention anyone else; but they also have Reggie Bush, Brandon Pettigrew, Matthew Stafford, and Golden Tate. Every game should be a Stafford touchdown fest, but that’s just not the case. Maybe the Lions should focus more on their coaching issues than anything. With that in mind, here are the Lions top needs in the 2015 Draft:
Running Back: The running game is the Lions biggest offensive flaw. Bush is a fantastic athlete, but he’s struggled with actually running the ball since his days with the New Orleans Saints. Bush is better as a check down option or a pass protector. On top of that, Bush has always had problems staying healthy. Theo Riddick has been solid for the team, but that’s not saying much. At the end of the day he’s just a third-down back. Joique Bell is the best option for the Lions moving forward, but bringing in someone to alternate with Bell would be a good move. If the Lions are lucky, Miami running back Duke Johnson might just fall to their 23rd overall selection.
Offensive Tackle: Drafting just a running back won’t do the Lions much good. The Lions started three different players at right tackle, but with no luck. The Lions rookie running back would have no chance at success without a solid offensive line to block for him. The Lions top prospect seems to be Oregon Ducks’ tackle Jake Fisher. Fisher seems to be just one of many tackles in the draft this season that would be ready to step into a starting role immediately. A 1st or 2nd round selection here would do wonders for the Lions run blocking.
Defensive Tackle: This may strike some people as odd, after all the Lions had the NFL’s best front four this past season. Well, here’s the problem: both Suh and Nick Fairley are at the end of their contracts and fully intend on testing the free agency market this offseason. All signs point towards Suh finding employment somewhere else; and Fairley is coming off of a pretty serious injury, so drafting a backup plan can’t hurt.
The Lions actually have some options here. They could use an early draft pick to select a defensive lineman like Michael Bennett out of Ohio State who would be ready to jump in and contribute. However, if Suh does decide to leave Detroit, the Lions would save a ton of money. In fact, the Lions could use one season’s salary that would have gone to Suh to grab up two experienced veterans. Either way, look for the Lions to fill up their defensive line and keep it onto of the NFL.