By Chris Loud @cfloud on March 31, 2014
With the free agency season coming to a close soon and the 2014 NFL Draft coming up, the Detroit Lions are still looking for those few missing pieces. However, because not every hole can be filled with brand new personnel, they must have some of their more unsung players step up in 2014.
I don’t know if Brandon Pettigrew is technically considered unheralded, but he’s been overrated and then consistently mediocre. So now I think he is pretty unheralded. The Lions need to use their tight ends for their style of offense, and after re-signing Pettigrew, he really needs to become the dominant tight end everyone thought he could become a few years ago.
Glover Quin’s versatility as a strong safety or free safety allowed the Lions to be a bit more selective when looking for free agent safeties this offseason. Now with some added heat back there with strong safety James Ihedigbo, Quin will have some help. If the Lions' safeties can be strong deep and underneath, the secondary will finally be moving in the right direction.
Drafted in the first round in 2012, offensive lineman Riley Reiff showed a lot of promise last season taking on good pass rushers on a ton of passing plays. The entire line looked decent last year, but because a lot of the starters are still very young, Reiff at only 25 needs to become more of a leader and start showing off his first round potential now.
Inconsistent as a rookie, Darius Slay still showed some major promise. The Lions are expecting big time improvement from Slay in 2014, and they could really use some solid performances at cornerback. If Slay can make some noise in the secondary, that’s one more hole in the defense that the Lions won’t have to worry about.
Defined as one of the leaders of the Lions’ defense, Captain Stephen Tulloch was the only linebacker on the team to have a sack last season. However, his production was still minor on the pass-rush and mediocre all around. He was largely out-shined by DeAndre Levy’s breakout season. If Tulloch can step up, as both a leader in performance and in experience, the middle of the Lions’ defense could finally be up to their potential.
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