The Detroit Lions have plenty of weaknesses to address this offseason. If they didn’t, they would not have finished the 2019 season a dismal 3-12-1. But what is the biggest weakness the team has that they must work to fix?
Recently, Bleacher Report took a look at identifying the biggest weakness for every single team as they head into the offseason. As it relates to the Lions, a familiar spot was picked out and it was the defensive end spot as it relates to pass rush.
Writer Brent Sobleski picked out the spot as the biggest position of need, and said that finding a way to get more active up front should be a huge goal for the team. Here’s what he wrote about Detroit’s case:
“The Detroit Lions were big spenders last year when they signed Trey Flowers to a five-year, $90 million deal. Flowers played well in his first season wearing the blue and silver, but he didn’t address Detroit’s biggest problem area then or now.
Flowers is listed as a defensive end, but he does his best work as a pass-rusher when working from the interior. The Lions lack a player who can consistently win off the edge.
Linebacker Devon Kennard tied with Flowers for the team lead in sacks last season, but he isn’t an explosive edge-rusher.
The Lions need someone with better first-step quickness and bend to beat opposing offensive tackles and restrict the pocket so Flowers can be even more effective.”
As a solution for the problem, Sobleski suggests the Lions target Dante Fowler of the Los Angeles Rams. Fowler has been an active player through the years, racking up 27.5 career sacks and 141 tackles. In 2019 alone, Fowler accounted for 11.5 sacks for the Rams.
No matter who they target, the experts can finally agree that the Lions need to do more to boost their sagging pass rush.
Lions Cap Space in 2020
Detroit will have a decent chunk of change to spend this offseason, having restructured Matthew Stafford’s deal to push their cap space to around $50 million dollars for the coming season. With this money, the Lions will have multiple different needs to address including the defensive line, secondary as well as potential upgrades on offense.
The Lions could always open up more space with a few savvy moves, and there could be other cap casualties that might impact the team’s final salary number more dramatically ahead of March.
For now, though, the Lions have a decent amount of money to spend to patch several of the holes they will be dealing with, and that includes the defensive line.
Lions Biggest 2020 Free Agency Need is Defense
Detroit could not pressure the quarterback meaningfully in 2019, and struggled stopping the pass as well, something that has been painfully obvious for months and that is a glaring problem given what the team has done in the last few offseason periods. Part of the problem has been injury, but beyond Trey Flowers and Da’Shawn Hand, the Lions simply don’t have any young building blocks they can count on right now. The team has to find some form of consistency in the trenches, and that is why it’s a major need for them moving forward.
If free agency were to begin today, the Lions would undoubtably have to look at the defensive line and the backfield for potential upgrades, with another eye at linebacker. Having some extra money could help the team make some key additions there, and patch some of their other depth holes on the offensive side.
Even the experts see the defensive line as the biggest problem for the team moving forward as free agency gets set to begin soon.