The NFL offseason began in earnest this week after the Patriots' Super Bowl win over the Falcons. The league-wide focus shifts to roster building for the 2017 season.
The Lions have needs to fill at a number of positions, and second-year general manager Bob Quinn will have the opportunity to do so through free agency and the draft.
On Thursday, the team signed free-agent safety Rolan Milligan. Milligan joins the Lions after spending the 2016 offseason with the Dallas Cowboys, where he participated in the team's training camp before being released on August 16.
ANALYSTS WEIGH IN
Last week during the Super Bowl lead-up events, several analysts weighed in on the Lions. There was a general consensus for the two areas Detroit could stand to improve most: Adding more defensive playmakers and fixing the run game.
Former Patriots linebacker/defensive end Willie McGinest spoke about the linebackers specifically.
"I think the linebackers are the most important part of a defense," McGinest said. "They're the leaders, they're the dogs, they're the play callers, the guys who get people lined up, along with the safety.
"If you don't have a good linebacking corps, it's tough to have a good defense."
As for the run game, Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson thinks the Lions need another back to pair with Ameer Abdullah.
"They are going to have to get another runner," Tomlinson said. "I think Ameer, I have a lot of respect for him, a tremendous talent in my mind. I think there's ways Ameer needs to be used, but I do think you need another physical, bruising running back to go along with Ameer.
"I think at this point, with Ameer just finishing his second year, and missed most of it, as an organization, you're probably thinking, 'okay, he probably won't be able to be the full-time starter as a runner and be able to handle 15 to 20 touches, but if I can get him 12 to 15 touches, then that might be ideal and then have another running back than can get 15 to 20 touches as well.'"
GLOVER QUIN'S TAKE
Safety Glover Quin, who lives in Houston, was also on hand during Super Bowl week. Quin was part of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) panel, and spoke with reporters after.
He was asked about the return of defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, and what that means for the team. Austin received some interest as a head coaching candidate, but didn't land any gigs.
"Anytime you can have continuity that's always good," Quin said. "I feel like you're starting steps ahead. For us, we're starting four years ahead.
"We've had TA for three years now, this is our fourth year, so, guys that have been here the whole time, the system, you know it in and out. You can just get better at it."
Quin was also asked about young players to look out for in 2017.
"I really do think Miles (Killebrew) is going to be a good player for us," Quin said. "I also think Antwione (Williams), the linebacker, is going to be a really good player for us as well. Antwione, hopefully, takes big steps."
OTHER NOTEWORTHY ITEMS:
- In this week's Monday Countdown, Mike O'Hara takes a look at how the Lions compare in five key categories to the other five teams that made the NFC playoffs in 2016.
- Watch Lions players look at baby photos of their teammates and try to guess who it is.
- Count down the top 10 rushing plays and top 5 rookie plays from the 2016 season.
- Head coach Jim Caldwell and a few current and former Lions players held a Black History Month panel for high school football players at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.