The Detroit Lions had plenty of problems on the field during the 2022 season, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
With this in mind, there was always going to be multiple positions that needed upgraded, especially being Detroit’s defense finished 32nd overall in the league for their work. Thus, narrowing down the biggest spot of need on that side of the ball could be hard.
For the folks at Pro Football Focus, however, that is hardly the case. Recently, PFF and writer Sam Monson took a look at some of the biggest needs that every team is expected to have this offseason, and cornerback was the easy choice in Detroit.
As Monson explained, that is for more reasons than just one. The Lions were bad in 2022, but they’ve also struggled for a while at the position.
“The Lions cornerbacks combined to allow a 110.4 passer rating and 9.2 yards per attempt last season. And while the team’s young pass-rushers really stepped up as the season progressed, the coverage on the back end never rose to meet them at that level. The Lions have drafted several young corners in recent years, but they have yet to see a real return on that investment and need to keep swinging to continue this team’s positive growth,” he wrote within the piece.
Big swings will be needed, potentially both within the draft as well as free agency or even in the trade market. If the Lions are able to pull it off, they could improve the entire outlook of their defense.
While there are plenty of spots the Lions could need to upgrade, cornerback may well be the one to watch the closest for the team this offseason.
Lions Secondary Needs 2023 Upgrades
Why prioritize the cornerback spot this offseason? Detroit’s secondary was arguably the worst group on the team’s defense this year, and they have the statistics to prove it.
Detroit finished 30th in pass defense, allowing 26 touchdowns and over 245 yards per-game on average. Worse, they allowed a total of 4,179 yards through the air. That points to a group that simply didn’t get much going all season long.
Jeff Okudah, who posted 73 tackles and one interception was the most consistent player of the group, and by the end of the season, he was struggling to find consistency as well. The Lions have solid pieces like Jerry Jacobs, but not nearly enough depth at the position, which proved itself to be the case most of the year.
Free agent Amani Oruwariye figures to be on the outs after a very tough season in 2022, and Mike Hughes may not have done enough to stick around as a must re-sign player. That could lead the Lions to prioritize the spot heavy in the draft.
Getting some veteran players along with a few more young bodies could be the key toward helping the Lions turn things around for the future. Early on, it seems as if the draft is going to fit the Lions and their needs in the defensive backfield in a big way.
Cornerbacks Lions Could Target This Offseason
The good news for Detroit? There are plenty of options for the team this offseason, both in free agency and the draft. There is even a good option for the team to look at via trade, as well.
If the Lions choose to address the position in free agency, there are top names from both conferences available. Perhaps the top corner that could hit the market is James Bradberry of Philadelphia, who has 18 career interceptions. Jamel Dean of Tampa Bay is another possible fit, and potentially Marcus Peters of Baltimore, Bradley Roby of New Orleans and Jonathan Jones of New England.
In the draft, there figures to be a dearth of options for the Lions, from Devon Witherspoon of Illinois to Christian Gonzales of Oregon as well as Kelee Ringo of Georgia. Any of those players could be first-round picks to help Detroit on the back end in the draft.
Additionally, if the Lions wanted to go very big, they could elect to target a player such as Jalen Ramsey of Los Angeles for a move. Ramsey could be on the block, and offer Detroit a game-changer at the position.
As a whole, it’s a good spot to have a big need this year, and the Lions may need to step up and make something happen in order to solve a problem.