Ranking Biggest Current Roster Holes Right Now for Lions in 2022

Alex Anzalone

Getty Alex Anzalone tries to tackle Packers' Aaron Jones in 2021.

To this point, the Detroit Lions have done a nice job making sure their roster is ready for a 2022 turnaround. It’s hard to fix depth, and the Lions have managed to do it in a big way.

Still, the job isn’t finished, and the team is still soft in some major places ahead of the 2022 season. The Lions still maintain weaknesses in plenty of ways and at plenty of spots on the roster ahead of a new season.

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At this point in time, which spots stand out the most in terms of being weak? Here’s a look at some of the biggest trouble spots for the Lions in 2022, especially if the team runs into a situation where they have injuries or inconsistencies creep up.


Linebacker

The Lions made some additions at linebacker this offseason, but nothing completely earth shattering. Alex Anzalone returned, and the team signed veterans Chris Board as well as Jarrad Davis. The draft brought a couple wild cards in Malcolm Rodriguez and James Houston. On the roster still is second-year player Derrick Barnes, who should be expected to take some major leaps forward this season.

Saying this group is soft is no slight to Barnes, Rodriguez and Houston. That trio of rookies could figure to play a solid role for the team in time. The questions come as a result of the Lions not perhaps making a bigger play in the free agent market. Board could take a jump forward with a bigger role, and Davis will have to be utilized differently within Detroit’s new-look defense to justify his return. Until proven otherwise with health and solid play, there will be big questions about this unit.


Cornerback

The Lions have better depth at cornerback than this time a year ago. What they have that could lead to this spot being a weakness is injury return concerns. The hope is Jeff Okudah and Jerry Jacobs are ready to come back. Beyond that, Okudah needs to step up and prove he can be a solid option for the team. Detroit has plenty of players they are betting on such as AJ Parker, Bobby Price, Ifeatu Melifonwu and Mike Hughes, but all are unproven in their own way and have questions. About the only player not seen as a current weakness? Amani Oruwariye.

Cornerback isn’t a complete weakness in Detroit, but it’s full of plenty of big question marks. Another veteran signing could work wonders toward easing some of these concerns in 2022 and bringing this group along.


Backup Quarterback

This might not make sense to some given the Lions did re-sign Tim Boyle and David Blough, but there is an overall feeling that the team could have done much better at the position. Neither Boyle nor Blough has lit the world on fire when they have seen action, and Jared Goff’s injury last season pressed Boyle into abrupt duty that he did not look comfortable with. It’s likely if not possible he can be better in 2022, but the Lions will need to hope that is the case in a big way. Detroit didn’t need to draft a player to improve their fortunes behind Goff, but having a more consistent backup could have been a help. There’s not going to be an addition, so fans will simply have to hope Boyle can keep improving and that Goff stays healthy.


Safety

Detroit has Tracy Walker coming back which is solid, but aside from him, the team has plenty of unknowns. DeShon Elliott looks like a shrewd signing, but he will have to prove that he can stay healthy and earn starters minutes for the Lions. Kerby Joseph will have to continue developing to prove he can earn a role. The jury’s out on whether or not Will Harris should be playing safety again at all after a rocky 2021 year. Detroit didn’t sign a big-name free agent to eat up minutes and space, so they are once again convinced youth will be served at the position.

While that might not be a bad bet at all, the team still looks a bit weaker at safety on the outside. This group will have to have a strong start to the season to avoid criticism.

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