jameson williams [608x342] - Copy
jameson williams [608x342] - Copy (Credit: Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

Leicester appoint Steve Cooper as new manager

DETROIT -- The 2023 season was unforgettable for the Detroit Lions as they advanced to to the NFC Championship Game for just the second time in franchise history.

With their foundational pieces secured after reaching massive offseason extensions for QB Jared Goff, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown and OL Penei Sewell, they will begin their quest to try and reach the Super Bowl.

Detroit, the defending NFC North division champion, will be in the spotlight with five prime-time games set for the 2024 season. With OTAs beginning this week and mandatory minicamp starting June 4, here are 5 things to watch.

New cornerbacks

One of the biggest holes on the 2023 Lions was the secondary. So, general manager Brad Holmes took an aggressive approach in upgrading this area by drafting Terrion Arnold (first round) and Ennis Rakestraw Jr. (second round). Detroit also added former Las Vegas Raiders CB Amik Robertson in free agency, traded for Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Carlton Davis III and re-signed veteran CB Emmanuel Moseley.

The defense allowed 7.8 yards per pass attempt last season, which ranked 31st in the NFL. On paper, it looks like the revamped cornerback room has been upgraded. Now it's time to prove it.

Holmes views the competition at the position this offseason as a "bloodbath in there now."

"It makes the room better, it makes the defense better, it makes the team better," Holmes said following Day 2 of the NFL draft.

Backup QB Hendon Hooker

Despite being taken in the third round of the 2023 draft out of Tennessee, Hooker experienced a redshirt season as a rookie while recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in college. Hooker didn't log any game action, so it's unclear how he will adjust to the NFL game. Goff is the clear-cut guy for the Lions after agreeing to a four-year, $212 million extension this offseason, but Hooker could continue to develop as a strong backup option.

No. 3 receiver

The Lions lost a key part of the offense when WR Josh Reynolds signed with the Denver Broncos this offseason. Reynolds established a connection with Goff, stemming from their days with the Los Angeles Rams, and finished as the third-best receiver for the Lions last year with 40 receptions for 608 yards and five touchdowns.

Although the Lions have St. Brown, an All-Pro, and Pro Bowl tight end Sam LaPorta returning, there's an opportunity for someone to step into a big role. Third-year receiver Jameson Williams will certainly be in the mix in addition to Donovan Peoples-Jones and Antoine Green. Former Illinois receiver Isaiah Williams was also signed as an undrafted free agent rookie and could be a steal.

WR Jameson Williams

At his best, Williams was one of the most exciting players on the roster in 2023. Not only did he show his ability to be a deep-ball threat, but his blazing speed also allowed the Lions to use him on end-around rushing plays and he wasn't afraid to do the dirty work with blocking.

However, Williams has yet to play a full season.

As a rookie, he missed his first 11 games while recovering from an ACL injury he suffered in college, then he missed the first four games of his sophomore season while serving a suspension for violating the NFL's gambling policy. Now, fully healthy and with an offseason to prepare, Williams will have an opportunity to show his full skillset.

Free agent additions

The Lions' front office tried to plug holes to be in position to go after the best talent in the draft, which mean addressing the defense. One of the biggest additions was former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle DJ Reader, who they are hoping can emerge as the run-stuffing tackle that they need, in addition to the cornerback additions and veteran outside linebacker Marcus Davenport. Detroit also added Pro Bowl guard Kevin Zeitler to fulfill a key spot after losing guard Jonah Jackson through free agency to the Rams.