5 Detroit Lions Who Must Step Up In 2016

By Brad Berreman

Despite a 7-9 finish in 2015, and a new general manager stepping in, the Detroit Lions kept Jim Caldwell as head coach. The most notable offseason subtraction in Detroit is wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who followed through on speculation he would retire even if rumors of a quick comeback may linger. During the 2016 season, these five Lions have to step up.

5 Detroit Lions Who Must Step Up In 2016
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5. TE Eric Ebron

TE Eric Ebron Credit: Getty Images
Ebron improved in his second season (47 receptions for 537 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games), but the Lions are expecting more this year. Opportunity is knocking for the No. 10 overall pick in 2014, and Ebron has to answer the door.

5. TE Eric Ebron

Ebron improved in his second season (47 receptions for 537 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games), but the Lions are expecting more this year. Opportunity is knocking for the No. 10 overall pick in 2014, and Ebron has to answer the door.

4. DE Devin Taylor

DE Devin Taylor Credit: Getty Images
Despite not starting a game, Taylor finished second on the Lions with seven sacks last year. With Jason Jones gone and the starting spot opposite Ziggy Ansah vacated, Taylor has to relish a bigger role and really help balance Detroit's pass rush.

4. DE Devin Taylor

Despite not starting a game, Taylor finished second on the Lions with seven sacks last year. With Jason Jones gone and the starting spot opposite Ziggy Ansah vacated, Taylor has to relish a bigger role and really help balance Detroit's pass rush.

3. DT Haloti Ngata

DT Haloti Ngata Credit: Getty Images
Injuries hampered Ngata in 2015, and the Lions finished 19th in the league against the run. Better health at 32 years old may be elusive, but the Lions need Ngata to be effective and play all 16 games for the first time since 2011 this year.

3. DT Haloti Ngata

Injuries hampered Ngata in 2015, and the Lions finished 19th in the league against the run. Better health at 32 years old may be elusive, but the Lions need Ngata to be effective and play all 16 games for the first time since 2011 this year.

2. QB Matthew Stafford

QB Matthew Stafford Credit: Getty Images
Losing his No. 1 target puts the spotlight clearly on Stafford, who has mostly underachieved to this point in his career. At age 28, now is the time for Stafford to be a leader and become one of the best, most consistent quarterbacks in the league.

2. QB Matthew Stafford

Losing his No. 1 target puts the spotlight clearly on Stafford, who has mostly underachieved to this point in his career. At age 28, now is the time for Stafford to be a leader and become one of the best, most consistent quarterbacks in the league.

1. WR Marvin Jones

WR Marvin Jones Credit: Getty Images
Jones got high-level money (five years, $40 million - $17 million guaranteed) to theoretically replace Johnson as Detroit's No. 1 wide receiver. Golden Tate will pick up some of the targets being left behind, but the spotlight is on Jones to step up.

1. WR Marvin Jones

Jones got high-level money (five years, $40 million - $17 million guaranteed) to theoretically replace Johnson as Detroit's No. 1 wide receiver. Golden Tate will pick up some of the targets being left behind, but the spotlight is on Jones to step up.

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