Major Defensive Trouble Spot Named Lions’ Red Flag Heading Into Draft

Derrick Barnes

Getty Derrick Barnes tackles Cleveland's David Njoku in a 2021 game.

After a 3-13-1 season, there are bound to be tons of spots on the Detroit Lions that are seen as big needs, and the defensive side of the ball bears most of those trouble spots.

From the front of the defensive line to the back end, there might not be a wrong answer as it relates to the side of the ball that needs the most improvement, but that hasn’t stopped folks from trying to narrow down an answer as to the biggest sore spot overall.

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Bleacher Report has cast their vote on the matter, and it’s a familiar trouble spot on defense at linebacker. Writer Gary Davenport believes that position represents the biggest red flag of the team heading toward the NFL draft. That’s because the players they have on the roster that have been re-signed aren’t consistent enough to get the job done in his mind.

“The Lions fielded the fifth-worst run defense in the NFL, largely because the team’s linebackers lack the speed to range sideline-to-sideline and close quickly in pursuit. That needs to change. Or this year’s defense is going to look a lot like last year’s,” he wrote.

The good news? There are some players that could represent great fits for the team in the draft. Davenport mentions Georgia’s Nakobe Dean, who could be in play with a late-round selection by the team. In addition to Dean,

Regardless, the Lions do need to make linebacker a huge priority in the draft. If they can rebuild that part of the defense, it will mean a great deal to the overall development of the group. To that end, Davenport is not wrong to say this group is a red flag. It will likely remain that way even through the draft as the prospects develop.

2022 NFL Draft Offers Lions Chances at Linebacker

While there might not be a top option for the team’s second-overall pick at the position, that does not mean there aren’t players in this draft class that can offer the Lions a major boost overall. The team could look at filling the need with either the 32nd overall pick or the 34th pick when they select, or in the middle rounds much like they did with the selection of Derrick Barnes last year. Some other quality players could exist then to help them patch the hole, such as Oklahoma’s Brian Asamoah, Wyoming’s Chad Muma and others. Here’s a look at a breakdown of some of the top linebackers set to hit this draft:

Top 10 Linebackers in the 2022 NFL Draft I MAJOR STUDS at the Top#NFLDraft #NFLDraft2022 #DevinLlloyd #ChadMuma #ChristianHarris #NakobeDean #LeoChanel #BrandonSmith2022-01-27T03:02:07Z

As a whole, Dean seems to be the hot prospect, but other players do exist at the spot who could make sense. Detroit should have a good chance of grabbing a stud at the position to help their prospects for the future even though a top linebacker may not exist in this draft when the team selects at second-overall.

Lions Have Major Offseason Need at Linebacker

If there’s one spot where the Lions can look to improve dramatically this year, it is on defense. Specifically, linebacker has been a soft spot for the last few years in Detroit, and the Lions tried to rectify that with the selection of Derrick Barnes in 2021. Barnes played fine as a rookie as he learned the ropes most of the year, but the fact is, the youngster needs plenty of help to develop as planned in both the draft and free agency.

With few new players added in free agency, could the Lions be players in the linebacker market during the draft? It’s more than possible given the fact that some good fits for what they like to do on defense do seem to exist as well as a glaring need according to the analysts.

Add it all up, and it seems fair to predict with confidence the Lions will find a way to patch this hole during the draft in a few weeks time.

READ NEXT: Analyst Raises Valid Question About Lions’ 2022 Defense

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