With the Detroit Lions’ schedule finally available we can confirm one thing, if the Detroit Lions make the playoffs in 2014 it’s because they earned it. Road trips to New England and Arizona, with the Lions’ final two games in potential frigid conditions against the Bears and Packers? That could spell trouble for a team that’s had a hard time finishing the past two seasons. That’s why it’s imperative the Lions find difference makers in 2014.
There’s been plenty of speculation about the Lions trading up in the draft so that they can grab a difference maker and I’m all for it, but I think there is only one difference maker that makes sense for an organization that claims to be in “win now” mode and that’s Sammy Watkins.
You can make the case for Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack, they are exceptional prospects and certainly difference makers, but would they be enough for the Lions to make the leap from a team in the playoff hunt to Super Bowl contender? I have my doubts.
If there’s one thing the NFL has taught us it’s that you don’t have to be great everywhere on the field, but great at one thing. Last season the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl behind a great defense and a great running game. The Super Bowl runner up Denver Broncos made it to the big stage behind a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback and an exceptional offense.
The Lions are a young defensive team with young defensive backs – without adding another with a first-round pick. Adding a player like Khalil Mack would help the defense, but would the addition solve their defense woes completely?
Offensively the Lions ranked in the top five and were deadly at times, but their lack of depth at wide receiver ultimately held the team back. The addition of Golden Tate will help, but they are still one difference maker away from being scary good. By drafting Sammy Watkins the Lions would have one of the most potent, if not the most potent offense in the NFL and a strong enough nucleus of talent to compete with any team.
If the Lions draft Watkins, not only are the Lions filling a need, but preventing a potential problem down the road when Matthew Stafford is left without his top target in Calvin Johnson. For those of you who are still screaming for the Lions to look defense in the first round ask yourself this, would any defensive player have the impact on the Lions that Sammy Watkins would?
The Lions have pieces in place and the addition of Watkins wouldn’t only give them a fighting chance at the playoffs this year, but candidates to compete for a deep playoff run in a tough NFC.