The Lions looked very impressive in 2010 and they are definitely a team on the rise. They have a lot of young talent on the roster that figures to play big roles in the future success of the team. The one thing that could hold them back are Matthew Stafford’s injury concerns as they need to surround him with as much protection as possible.
Stafford missed a lot of time again last season and he has missed more games than he has played in his young career. He needs to stay healthy if the Lions want to be playoff contenders next season.
Jahvid Best is the game changing type of running back that the Lions have been searching for since Barry Sanders retired. He was slowed down by injuries for the better part of last year but if he can stay healthy, he can be a real game changer for the Lions’ offense.
Calvin Johnson is one of the top receivers in the league and he gives the Lions a true number one receiver that most teams lack. Nate Burleson is a solid number two receiver but the depth behind them is a concern.
Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler form one of the better tight end duos in the league. The offensive line has improved but they could still use some upgrades in certain positions.
Rob Sims and Gosder Cherilus had possibly the best seasons of their career last year, and veterans Dominic Raiola and Jeff Backus are still solid players. Stephen Peterman struggled at right guard and it’s very possible that they will find some competition for him in this year’s draft.
The defensive line is one of the better overall line units in the NFL. Kyle Vandenbosch and Cliff Avril form a very solid pass rushing duo, as Avril really came into his own last year.
Turk McBride and Lawrence Jackson give the team good depth. The defensive tackle position is also very deep, where rookie sensation Ndamukong Suh and Corey Williams are the starters.
This group also has good depth with Andre Fluellen and Sammie Hill. The linebacker group needs some upgrades, as both outside linebacker spots were weak spots last season.
DeAndre Levy is pretty solid in the middle but I think we could see the Lions take two outside linebackers in this year’s draft. The secondary is a unit that saw some improvements last year, but it still has a little ways to go before it is seen as a dominant unit.
Chris Houston and Alphonso Smith could be the starters next season, but neither one of them is a shutdown corner and we could see them take a corner in round one or two. Louis Delmas is a future pro bowler at free safety, and Amari Spievey looks like he could develop into a solid strong safety in the next year or two.