Matt Peterson tracks the offseason needs of every team in the league. Today’s franchise, the Detroit Lions. [full archive here].
Season Recap - Since becoming head coach in 2009, Jim Schwartz has made all the right moves in attempts of recovering from the mess left by ex- general manager Matt Millen. Detroit was very competitive this season and ended the season on a four game win streak, all without the play from young star quarterback Matthew Stafford, who still faces doubts over durability issues. With another offseason in the Schwartz era, look for the Lions to make a run at the playoffs in 2011.
1. Outside Linebacker – Detroit has a young star in the middle with Deandre Levy, but lacks talent on the outside. Starter Julian Peterson was recently released and Zach Follett may be forced into retirement due to a serious neck injury. Detroit upgraded the D-line last offseason, but its main focus will be in the back part of the front seven this year.
2. Cornerback - Detroit hasn’t had a solid starter at cornerback since Dre Bly in 2004. Chris Houston played well but is scheduled for free agency and Alphonso Smith is still recovering from a significant shoulder surgery. Detroit fans are praying that Prince Amukamara falls to them in the first round. If Amukamara is gone, the Lions may take Jimmy Smith or Brandon Harris.
3. Offensive Tackle – Time to protect Stafford. Matt Stafford has played a total of 13 of 32 games due to injuries. When he does play, he plays well but there are flinches from coaches and fans every time he touches the ground. This offseason is the right time to invest in a young franchise left tackle, which can help protect Stafford as he leads Detroit to success for the next 10 seasons. Nate Solder and Tyron Smith are some of the top tackle prospects in the draft.
4. Wide Receiver – Outside of Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson the Lions have no options. Part of the offenses problem in 2010 was that no third receiving option emerged. If the Lions can grab another player to pair with Johnson, Burleson, Best, Pettigrew, and Stafford the Lions will have one of the top young offensive units.
5. Defensive End – Ndamukong Suh, Sammie Hill, and Corey Williams make up one of the top defensive tackle units in the game and due to their presence in the middle; Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril have it a bit easier. Vanden Bosch is turning 33 and Avril is scheduled to become a free agent. Detroit has to invest in a young talent on the outside, and Robert Quinn from UNC would be a nice fit in the first round.