5 Lions Who Must Improve in 2020

In order for the Lions to turn things around next year, here are five players that must take a step forward
Author:
Publish date:

With likely only three wins in Lions head coach Matt Patricia's second year, there are plenty of aspects of the team that need to be transformed in order for a successful 2020 season to occur. 

Coaching is one of them, but player development and performance will be equally or even more paramount. 

Here are five players that need to improve next year in order for the Lions to get back on track: 

5.) DT Damon "Snacks" Harrison

"Snacks" was a catalyst for the Lions' rush defense after they traded for him midway through the 2018 season. For whatever reason, the same cannot be said abut the 2019 version of Snacks. Maybe "Father Time" has caught up with him, but he still needs to perform better. He will be the first to admit it. One of the most dominant run-stuffers in the league the last five years must find his prior form, or the Lions will likely continue to struggle to stop the run.

4.) RB Kerryon Johnson

You know what they say, sometimes the best ability is availability. So far in his second NFL season, Johnson has struggled to stay on the field. Johnson has a long history of injuries, and he may not be a true workhorse. Fortunately, it appears the Lions have found a decent complement in Bo Scarbrough. That's not to say the Lions won't add another competent body at running back in the offseason. This year, I personally feel that Kerryon did not look like his pre-knee injury rookie form. He was close, but not quite the same player. Using him sparingly and more as a situational back could prolong his time in the league.

3.) CB Amani Oruwariye

It wasn't a good look when fellow corner Rashaan Melvin regained his starting role the past couple weeks. Oruwariye is a developmental type. However, given the bare cupboard behind Darius Slay and Justin Coleman next season, it's time for a late-round player to step up and take that next step. All the tools are there for the rookie. Who knows what's in store for Slay this offseason as well. Given that Oruwariye was high on my personal draft board, my expectations remain relatively high.

2.) TE Jesse James

Perhaps the biggest free-agent bust in the entire NFL, the 2019 version of James was not what many fans were expecting. It didn't help that rookie T.J. Hockenson grabbed the starting role. However, even with Hockenson's injury, James continued to not produce in both the passing game and blocking department. James costs more to release than he does to keep on the roster. It's unlikely he is going anywhere anytime soon. With the contract he was given, he must contribute more in 2020.

1.) TE T.J. Hockenson

Another tight end high on the list. Detroit general manager Bob Quinn gave his best effort with trying to revamp a weak tight end group from 2018. It's well-documented that the position takes time to develop, so there is a little leeway. Given where Hockenson was selected in the 2019 NFL Draft at No. 8 overall, expectations are skewed. There were flashes of greatness from the rookie, no doubt. Moving into 2020, the game-changing type plays need to show up on a more regular basis. Anytime you take a luxury pick in the top 10, the individual has to pan out, or the pick sets the franchise back a great deal. An offseason of NFL workouts -- with strength-and-weight-training emphasized -- could go a long way, and I fully expect Hockenson to be more involved in the weekly gameplan in 2020.

Related 

David Blough Responds to Car Offer 

Best Lions Team of the 2010s