Detroit Lions' 5 Biggest Needs Heading Into 2016 NFL Combine

By Jason Fletcher

After finishing 11-5 and making the playoffs in 2014, the Detroit Lions responded with a disappointing 7-9 record in 2015. They opened the season 0-5 and could never quite dig themselves out of that sizable hole they dug themselves, despite some better play in the second-half of the season. In order to return to the playoffs in 2016, the front office needs to target these five positions either in free agency or the 2016 NFL Draft.

Detroit Lions\' 5 Biggest Needs Heading Into 2016 NFL Combine
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5. Safety

Safety Credit: Getty Images
Starting strong safety James Ihedigbo and backup free safety Isa Abdul-Quddus are both free agents this offseason which makes adding another safety in the draft a priority.

5. Safety

Starting strong safety James Ihedigbo and backup free safety Isa Abdul-Quddus are both free agents this offseason which makes adding another safety in the draft a priority.

4. Middle Linebacker

Middle Linebacker Credit: Getty Images
The Lions reportedly plan to release Stephen Tulloch and backup Travis Lewis is a free agent. Although the position isn't of huge importance in the 4-3 scheme, there has to be someone who can cover sideline-to-sideline.

4. Middle Linebacker

The Lions reportedly plan to release Stephen Tulloch and backup Travis Lewis is a free agent. Although the position isn't of huge importance in the 4-3 scheme, there has to be someone who can cover sideline-to-sideline.

3. Wide Receiver

Wide Receiver Credit: Getty Images
Wide receiver becomes of utmost importance if Calvin Johnson officially decides to retire. Either way, adding a young wideout for the future, and one who could play in the slot now, would be beneficial to the progression of the offense.

3. Wide Receiver

Wide receiver becomes of utmost importance if Calvin Johnson officially decides to retire. Either way, adding a young wideout for the future, and one who could play in the slot now, would be beneficial to the progression of the offense.

2. Defensive End

Defensive End Credit: Getty Images
Ziggy Ansah is a budding star at one defensive end spot, but he's doing it without any help from the other side. Jason Jones, Darryl Tapp, Jermelle Cudjo and Corey Wootton are also all free agents this spring.

2. Defensive End

Ziggy Ansah is a budding star at one defensive end spot, but he's doing it without any help from the other side. Jason Jones, Darryl Tapp, Jermelle Cudjo and Corey Wootton are also all free agents this spring.

1. Defensive Tackle

Defensive Tackle Credit: Getty Images
Three of the Lions' top four defensive tackles are free agents this offseason -- including starters Tyrunn Walker and Haloti Ngata. With the No. 16 selection in the first-round, look for the Lions to target a tackle such as Robert Nkemdiche.

1. Defensive Tackle

Three of the Lions' top four defensive tackles are free agents this offseason -- including starters Tyrunn Walker and Haloti Ngata. With the No. 16 selection in the first-round, look for the Lions to target a tackle such as Robert Nkemdiche.

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