Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn wants to add playmakers on both sides of the ball. When we look at that from an offensive perspective, the two areas that jump out right away are at wide receiver and tight end.
Lions tight ends combined for just 45 catches, 461 yards and four touchdowns last season.
"Yeah, the tight ends are definitely a priority for us," Quinn confirmed Monday at the Season Ticket Member Summit at Ford Field. "We went into last offseason, and I think I spoke about this in January, we made many efforts at signing everybody that was available on the street, and ultimately it came down to dollars and cents and we didn't get any of those top guys."
The Lions are looking this offseason to add playmakers at the position and could look to both free agency and a very deep draft class in their attempts to immediately upgrade the position. Former fourth-round pick Michael Roberts and veteran Jerome Cunningham are the only tight ends currently under contract for next season with any real experience.
"This is a position of need," Quinn said. "We know that. It's a good year in the draft for tight ends. In fact, just (Monday) morning was when we went through the tight ends with our scouts. I'd say there's a really good crop and there's an unusual amount of underclassman tight ends in this year's draft which really fit what we're kind of looking for. So, there's numerous options there and in free agency."
View photos from the 2019 Detroit Lions Season Ticket Members Summit at Ford Field on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.
Jared Cook and Tyler Eifert are a couple free agent names to consider. T.J Hockenson (Iowa), Irv Smith Jr. (Alabama), Noah Fant (Iowa) and Tommy Sweeney (Boston College) are just a few of the potentially six or seven tight ends who could be selected in the top 100 picks.
Quinn should be able to find a tight end or two this offseason to help Darrell Bevell's offense in 2019.
When it comes to adding another weapon to the receiving corps alongside Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr., Quinn said his staff, along with the coaching staff, are determining if they have any internal candidates that can fill the role. Those names could include Andy Jones, Chris Lacy or Brandon Powell, all of whom got extended playing time at the end of this season.
"The receiver position is something like we talked about earlier with the tight end conversation is something we're definitely looking at," Quinn said. "This is another good draft class of wide receivers. They come in all shapes and sizes. Receivers is actually (Tuesday) morning's draft meeting."
The Lions were able to scout some of the top slot receivers available in this draft at the Senior Bowl in Mobile last month. There were also a couple of seniors that stretched the field vertically they got a good look at, too.
This month's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis will give them a look at the entire receiving draft class as a whole so they can start to rank and form a wish list.
Quinn said the nice thing about his returning receiving corps is he thinks he has a lot of players that can do a number of different things. We saw Golladay line up in the slot a number of times this season, especially after Golden Tate was traded.
Quinn likes that kind of versatility up and down his roster, especially at the receiver position.
"We'll take the best receiver we can," Quinn said. "It's a position we're looking at thoroughly and I think there's a lot of good options out there."
So, while this draft is heavy at the top with defensive playmakers, the Lions do have some needs on the offensive side of the football. Look for them to address the tight end and wide receiver positions in free agency, the draft or both this offseason.