The Detroit Lions saw their season end in disappointing fashion in 2013, losing six of their last seven games and finishing the season 7-9 after starting 6-3. The team has already addressed its main issue in the offseason by firing former head coach Jim Schwartz and hiring Jim Caldwell. Now that the team’s coaching staff has been implemented, they must shift their focus to position needs. The Lions must address the following positions in the offseason to ensure a more successful season in 2014.
Wide Receiver: The Lions struggled mightily with Calvin Johnson out of the lineup last season. In the two games that Johnson missed last season against the Green Bay Packers in Week 5 and the Minnesota Vikings in Week 17, their leading receivers had 59 and 75 yards (Brandon Pettigrew and Kevin Ogletree). Even when Johnson is in the lineup, defenses typically focus all of their attention on him because they know none of the other Lions receivers will be able to do too much damage. The Lions could address this need via free agency with players like Eric Decker, Jeremy Maclin or Hakeem Nicks or they could draft a receiver such as Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans or Marqise Lee in the first round.
Cornerback: This is another glaring need for the Lions. The team’s secondary has been inconsistent for several years now, and last year they ranked 23rd in the league in both total passing yards allowed and passing yards per game. Chris Houston is considered the team’s best corner, and he is mediocre at best. Rashean Mathis is getting up there in age, and Darius Slay needs to improve a lot. The Lions should add to this position via the draft either in the first round with a selection such as Darqueze Dennard, Justin Gilbert or with another cornerback in subsequent rounds. They could also try to persuade a free agent such as Aqib Talib, Brent Grimes or DeAngelo Hall to come to Detroit.
Safety: After watching the Super Bowl this year, it is evident that defense wins championships. The Seattle Seahawks’ secondary completely shut down the high octane offense of the Denver Broncos. A key factor in their secondary this season was the safety play of both Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas who were the enforcers for their defense. The Lions made a nice addition in adding Glover Quin as a safety in the offseason last year, but it is uncertain whether or not Louis Delmas will return next year. Intriguing free agent safeties include Jairus Byrd, Donte Whitner, Ryan Clark and James Ihedigbo.