The Detroit Lions are heading into the summer after taking part in their virtual offseason program, and the hope is come July, everyone can get back on the field toward the goal of pushing for the 2020 season.
When the Lions do get back on the field, there will be several players facing down critical seasons. Who is going to be primed to have to prove the most in training camp? Here’s a look of who figures to be feeling the heat the most when things get going.
Miles Killebrew, LB/S
Killebrew came to Detroit as a revelation from Bob Quinn’s first draft class. Many thought the hybrid player would step up and play a huge role in the backfield. That simply hasn’t happened, and while Killebrew is useful on special teams, the fact is he remains a player which might lack a natural position on the team. As a result of that, he faces a critical camp. If Killebrew can’t prove himself as a useful player either at linebacker or the secondary, it will be fascinating to see what the Lions elect to do with him in the end. It’s more than possible it will take a huge camp for the former third round pick to stick on the team for the 2020 season.
Joe Dahl, G
Detroit made a huge commitment to their offensive line by selecting guards Jonah Jackson as well as Logan Stenberg in the 2020 draft. They’ve also got several veterans on the roster who have played in useful roles like Oday Aboushi and Kenny Wiggins. So where does that leave Dahl, another 2016 draft pick? He will have to step up and play well in order to prove he’s a starter and a player who is making the right strides in his development. Otherwise, Dahl could find himself on the outside looking in quick this coming year.
Bo Scarbrough, RB
Scarbrough did some great things for the Lions down the stretch in 2019 when he added punch to a struggling ground game. This coming year, though, the Lions have Kerryon Johnson coming back healthy as well as D’Andre Swift coming into the mix. They’ve also got young Ty Johnson on the roster as well as Jason Huntley, who could be useful in plenty of roles for the team. Theoretically, the position is so strong that depth finally exists, meaning feelings could get hurt this year at running back. Scarbrough seems to be a key player as part of this mix, but as a guy who was signed and not drafted, the jury will be out as it relates to what the staff wants to do.
Chris Lacy, WR
Suddenly, the Lions have some major depth at wideout, with not only Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones looking like one of the best duos in football, but with Marvin Hall emerging as one of the best deep ball threats in the league, Danny Amendola holding things down in the slot and even Geronimo Allison jumping over from Detroit’s bitter rival in Green Bay to perhaps give the group extra depth. Lacy has been a camp star the last few years and used it to his advantage in 2019 to nail down a role. This year, though, he will have to do a lot more than that in order to stick around given the sheer depth of this group.
Austin Bryant, Edge
2019 represented a lost year for the rookie out of Clemson who came in with much fanfare. Injuries are what slowed Bryant down mostly, but it’s safe to say with Detroit’s needs on the edge, he’s entering a very important offseason and season in 2020. Bryant has to stay healthy and step up big in order to justify his position on the roster. Even Lions general manager Bob Quinn seems to know that Bryant’s development is a must being he called him out this offseason. The Lions have bodies at defensive end, but Bryant needs to step up and make sure he has a great season in order to aid in his development for the future.