DETROIT - The Detroit Lions were very active in free agency and the NFL draft this offseason in an attempt to improve what was a pretty dreadful offense a year ago.
The Lions finished the season ranked in the bottom 10 in both points and yards per game. After trading wide receiver Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Lions failed to reach 20 points in six of their final nine games.
General manager Bob Quinn made a couple of key free agent signings and used his first-round draft pick to try to bolster the offense.
Here's what the starting offense could look like when the season rolls around.
Quarterback: Matthew Stafford
Last season (Lions): 66.1 percent completion rate, 3,777 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 6.8 yards per attempt.
Last season was not a good one for the Lions' franchise quarterback, as he posted his worst numbers in six years.
Stafford threw for fewer than 4,000 yards over a full season for the first time in his NFL career and averaged just 6.8 yards per pass attempt.
His 21:11 touchdown to interception ratio was a major dropoff from 2017's 29:10 mark.
While he's been extremely durable -- playing in all 16 games over the last eight years -- Stafford hasn't been able to elevate the Lions' offense to an elite level. He had far too many turnovers last season and far too few touchdowns.
He has a great arm, but at 31 years old, there are still questions about whether Stafford can make the players around him better.
Running back: Kerryon Johnson
Last season (Lions): 118 carries for 641 yards, 5.4 yards per rush, three touchdowns.
Perhaps the most exciting player on the Lions' roster last season, Johnson burst onto the scene with a 101-yard game against the New England Patriots.
The Lions were conservative with Johnson, never allowing him to reach 20 carries and often keeping him in single digits. He only received more than 15 carries twice, and both times he eclipsed 100 yards.
His best effort came in Miami, when he rushed for 158 yards on 19 carries against the Dolphins.
Johnson was also a threat in the passing game, catching 32 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown.
Unfortunately for Lions fans, Johnson's season came to an end after 10 games, and he was forced to settle for 641 yards and three touchdowns. He had an opportunity to reach the 1,000-yard mark if he had remained healthy.
For the first time in years, the Lions will begin a season with an exciting, established starter at running back.
Wide receiver: Kenny Golladay
Last season (Lions): 70 catches for 1,063 yards and five touchdowns.
Golladay was a quiet breakout player for the Lions last season, reaching 1,000 yards in an offense that didn't move the ball with any consistency.
Even during a modest 477-yard rookie campaign, Golladay's potential was obvious. He turned that potential into real production last season, and now he'll get his shot at being a No. 1 receiver for an entire season.
The next step for Golladay is consistency. He had four games of fewer than 50 receiving yards, including a one-catch game against the Seahawks and a five-yard game against the Cardinals.
Golladay has good size and speed, so it's likely he'll finish north of 1,000 receiving yards again if he remains healthy.
Wide receiver: Marvin Jones Jr.
Last season (Lions): 35 catches for 508 yards and five touchdowns.
Injuries derailed the 2018 season for Jones, but he wasn't overly productive even when he was in the lineup.
In six of his nine games, Jones finished with between 50 and 70 yards. He had one breakout game of 117 yards and two touchdowns, but also had two games with fewer than 30 yards.
Stafford needs Jones to be a more reliable target next season without Tate in the mix. He targeted Jones 62 times, and that needs to result in more than 35 connections.
Jones caught 61 passes for 1,101 yards and nine touchdowns in 2017, so he can be a solid No. 2 receiver.
Wide receiver: Danny Amendola
Last season (Miami Dolphins): 59 catches for 575 yards and one touchdown.
One of Quinn's key offensive signings was Amendola, but it's unclear how much of a difference he will make in the Lions offense.
Amendola caught 59 passes for 575 yards last season as a Dolphin, scoring just one touchdown. He's never reached 700 receiving yards or five touchdowns in a season, but Amendola can be a solid complimentary cog in an offense.
That's exactly what the Lions hope for the 33-year-old slot receiver, who will slide in beneath Golladay and Jones on Stafford's wide receiver priority list.
Tight end: T.J. Hockenson
Last season (Iowa Hawkeyes): 49 catches for 760 yards and six touchdowns.
The most significant move Quinn made to improve the offense was using the No. 8 overall pick to select the top offensive weapon in the draft class.
This year, the best non-quarterback offensive player happened to be a tight end who can be a weapon in the receiving game and as a blocker.
Luckily for the Lions, that perfectly fit their needs.
Hockenson caught 73 passes for 1,080 yards over 23 games at Iowa and learned how to be a strong run blocker. He should be a Day 1 starter for the Lions and become a favorite target for Stafford.
Hockenson will be an asset in the passing game and the running game.
Tight end: Jesse James
Last season (Steelers): 30 catches for 423 yards and two touchdowns.
James might not technically be a starter unless the Lions use a double tight end set, but he'll get plenty of playing time.
He signed a four-year deal with the Lions this offseaon and figured to be the team's No. 1 tight end, until Hockenson was drafted.
With James and Hockenson in the fold, the Lions have turned a weakness into a strength.
James is only 24 years old and was a solid contributor for the Steelers over the last three seasons. He caught 112 passes for 1,133 yards and eight touchdowns over that span, averaging 10.1 yards per reception.
Left tackle: Taylor Decker
Last season (Lions): 16 starts.
Decker has started 40 games since being drafted No. 16 overall in the 2016 draft.
There have been some ups and downs for Decker, but he will once again begin the season on the left side of the Lions' offensive line.
Decker even had an 11-yard receiving touchdown last season.
Stafford has taken too many hits the last several years, and Decker is one of several offensive linemen who need to improve in 2019.
Left guard: Frank Ragnow
Last season (Lions): 16 starts.
The team's first-round pick in 2018 started all 16 games on the offensive line, holding his own as a rookie.
Though he was drafted as the No. 1 center, Ragnow will once again slot into a guard position and be a major piece of the team's running game.
Center: Graham Glasgow
Last season (Lions): 16 starts.
The Lions have gotten good value out of Glasgow since selecting him in the third round of the 2016 draft.
He's played in 47 of 48 games since then and started all 32 games the last two seasons.
Glasgow has spent some time at both guard positions, but settled in at center for all 16 games last season. He figures to do so again at the start of the 2019 season.
Right guard: Oday Aboushi
Last season (Arizona Cardinals): Eight games, six starts.
The T.J. Lang experiment certainly didn't work out well for Detroit, but Kenny Wiggins did a solid job filling in at right guard.
Wiggins spent the previous several seasons going back and forth between the NFL roster and the practice squad for the Los Angeles Chargers. After making just nine starts in his first four seasons, Wiggins has started 26 of 32 games with the Chargers and Lions the last two years.
Aboushi seems to be a safe bet to win the starting job, though, after being signed to a one-year, $2 million deal with Detroit. It was the only real move the Lions made along the offensive line this offseason.
Aboushi has played exclusively at right guard the last two seasons, so the Lions appear to view him as a fill-in at the position this coming season.
Right tackle: Ricky Wagner
Last season (Lions): 15 starts.
The Wagner signing hasn't gone exactly as planned after the Lions revamped their offensive line in 2017, but he's still a proven NFL tackle.
He started 13 games for the Lions in 2017 and 15 games last season. He's set to make $9 million each of the next three seasons.
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