ESPN Analysts Give Lions Impressive Title Heading Into 2023 Offseason

Dan Campbell

Getty Dan Campbell celebrates in the first half on Thanksgiving 2022.

The Detroit Lions put together a furious finish to the 2022 season, and ended up with a 9-8 record to show for it, but hope is high for an even better result in the future.

That’s the reason that many think the team will be able to take the next steps in terms of being a contender. If that is to happen, the offseason is going to be when that gets done with some major moves.

Ahead of the offseason, ESPN took a look at making some predictions for the 2023 season. The Lions were included in terms of a nugget about the offseason, and a pair of analysts has picked the team to be one of the most compelling of the entire offseason.

Within the piece, analysts also looked at naming the most interesting teams of the offseason, and the Lions surfaced on the list twice. A pair of analysts said they believe the team will fit the bill as “most interesting” for 2023.

Writer Mike Clay said he believes Detroit to be a popular sleeper, and thinks with defensive additions, the Lions can be on the move for the future in terms of contention in the NFC North. For this, he put them in the interesting category.

“I fully expect Detroit to be the most popular sleeper team this offseason. Coach Dan Campbell has the franchise headed in the right direction, and while Jared Goff’s career output has been inconsistent, he has a terrific offensive supporting cast. If the front office makes a few additions to a defense that has struggled for years, the Lions can make a run at the NFC North crown,” Clay wrote in the piece.

Analyst Tristan H. Cockcroft agreed with this assessment, and had the Lions as his most intriguing team of the offseason thanks to the intrigue of what they could do in order to reshape their roster.

“The Lions were a surprisingly competitive team last season and are a sleeper contender for a deep playoff run depending upon how their draft and free agency run shakes out. They have two of the top 18 picks in the draft and a pretty solid salary-cap situation, so I’m curious to see what kinds of reinforcements they bring in as they attempt to take the next step,” Cockroft wrote in the piece.

This curiosity and potential for advancement in the future combines to make the Lions a very intriguing team. They could become the talk of the offseason if they make a few bold moves, and most expect that to happen when all is said and done.

Typically, the Lions have been one of the more boring teams in the league given their struggles through the years, but that is not the case right now. With this designation, it’s clear opinions are shifting about the team.

Lions Poised for Major Offseason

The Lions will have the chance to make some strides this offseason, and the reason is due to the fact that the team has hit on their last two draft classes from the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

With names like Aidan Hutchinson, Alim McNeill, Kerby Joseph, Penei Sewell, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jameson Williams and James Houston coming down the pipe, the team has developed a solid core for the future to build around. With eight draft picks in 2023 – four of which come in the first two rounds – that is going to continue.

Detroit’s salary cap situation is solid as well. The team has nearly $14 million to spend right now, and that could get even better in the coming weeks as roster cuts and other decisions come down the pipe. That could lead the team to be able to make multiple free agency additions that could impact the roster in a big way.

With the draft picks, the Lions could add more top young talent or they could look to make a bold trade. Reality says that anything is on the table for the team, which makes them one of the most fascinating to watch in the offseason.

Lions Potential Offseason Improvements

Detroit has a lot of heavy lifting to do this offseason, and could see the majority of help needed on the defensive side of the ball relative to their struggles there.

The Lions finished 32nd in total defense this past season, and struggled against both the run and the pass. Against the run, they finished 29th with a total of 2,491 yards allowed and 22 touchdowns.

With this in mind, getting help along the defensive line and specifically at defensive tackle would be a good idea for Detroit. Any available defensive tackles are sure to generate free agent interest from the team given needs for upgrades there. That’s similar at linebacker given their role against the run and the pass, too.

In the secondary, cornerback could be on the menu for the Lions early and often due to the fact that the team finished 30th in the league in pass defense, allowing 4,179 yards through the air. Any available veteran cornerbacks that fit the scheme are sure to attract interest from the team as a result of this.

Offensively, there will be some question what happens at running back with D’Andre Swift. Detroit would seemingly have enough at wide receiver, but it’s possible they could look at another addition there, too.

Like any team, there are no shortage of needs or spots the Lions could choose to upgrade. Right now, the Lions will start off in a pretty good spot.

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