…the team still lacks depth.
The good news is we can begin to talk seriously about depth because the organization now has a basic accumulation of professional level talent. That being said, the talent distribution is thin in areas, and still non-existent in others.
The offensive line has been porous, to put it kindly, for several years, but I actually like the starting unit this season, however depth could be an issue if (when?) an injury strikes. Jon Jansen had a ton of experience but he was cut in favor of the younger Corey Hilliard. Dylan Gandy and Manny Ramirez were both forced into starting roles at times last season, and the results weren’t particularly good. The Lions will probably be able to get by with some of these guys for small stretches, but bad things will happen if the offensive line needs to dip into the reserves too frequently.
The depth problems in the secondary are caused by the shallow pool of available talent. The good news is you can plug almost any backup into the starting role at corner or safety without losing much (outside of a healthy Delmas), but that’s because the named starters are, for the most part, poor. I’ll just say this: it’s never a good thing when one of your potential starting defensive backs is nicknamed “Can’t Cover.”
The Lions also severely lack depth at the linebacker position. Once you get past Julian Peterson and (injured) DeAndre Levy, there’s just not much there. Zack Follett has some fans excited, but he’s far from a proven commodity, Ashlee Palmer could be a decent backup, but he doesn’t come with much experience, and then there’s a bunch of guys who are better off on special teams rather than on defense.
Matt Millen left the roster in ruins, and this is just part of the rebuilding process. I think the new regime has gone about fixing the problems the correct way. The entire team can’t be fixed in all at once, but the depth problems are being systematically fixed one position at a time. The running backs have good depth, the wide receivers have good depth, and the defensive line has good depth. That’s more “goods” than we’ve seen in a long time, but process is not yet complete.