Make Or Break Year For Jared Goff? 5 Lions Players Who MUST Play Well In 2023!

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As the Detroit Lions improved their roster throughout the offseason, the standard for performance has risen.

The organization expects to compete for the NFC North division title and make noise in the postseason. These expectations come largely from the fact that the team has improved greatly from both a depth and roster perspective.

These additions will put pressure on the incumbent veterans on Detroit’s roster. When training camp rolls around, there will be plenty of competition.

Here are five Lions entering pivotal, make-or-break seasons in 2023.

Romeo Okwara

Okwara was limited by injuries in 2022, as he needed more than a full year to recover from an Achilles’ injury. With the emergence of Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston, the pressure will be on the veteran to perform.

He was a key part of the Lions’ defense in 2020, when he logged 10 sacks. The injuries have hindered his production over the last two seasons, and as he enters the final year of his contract, he will have to compete for snaps with the Lions’ young players.

Charles Harris

Harris enters 2023 in a similar situation to Okwara. He was super productive in 2021 but was limited by injuries last season. This season, also the final year of his deal, carries big implications.

The former first-round pick had a resurgence in his first year with the Lions. However, he struggled to stay on the field and played just six games.

He’ll need to prove that the 2021 campaign was no fluke. With the influx of youth off the edge, Harris will be feeling the heat and must make the most of his opportunities.

Jared Goff

By finishing the second half of the season in near-flawless fashion, Goff bought himself another year as the team’s unquestioned starter. The talk of him being simply a bridge quarterback is in the past, and he’s now working toward earning another contract.

Goff is under Lions’ control for this upcoming season and the next. This means the organization will have to decide whether or not to commit to him for the duration of another contract.

The veteran will be under pressure to lead the Lions to fulfill their high expectations. If he can lead the team to the playoffs and perhaps a postseason win, he should land an extension. However, struggles could force Detroit to look elsewhere.


This upcoming season is a pivotal one for Goff and the future of the Lions at the quarterback position.

Derrick Barnes

The Lions drafted a linebacker with the 18th overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. With Jack Campbell, the Lions are hoping they’ve found the future anchor of their defense.

This means Barnes will be entering a pivotal season. Heading into his third season, he’s yet to show much in the way of consistent production. The Purdue product has been good in spurts.

So far, it’s been good indications regarding Barnes out of offseason workouts. He’s taken first-team reps during OTAs and minicamp and will be in the competition to start.

Will Harris

No position group was addressed more in the offseason than the secondary. Detroit signed a trio of players who will be immediate contributors, along with drafting one in the second round.

This leaves Harris’ role in question. He’s been a utility player, shifting between corner, safety and nickel throughout his career with the Lions. With the likes of C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Cam Sutton and Brian Branch having this same versatility, there will be healthy competition for playing time.

Harris will be firmly in the mix to get snaps, but his competition will be firm. He’s back on a one-year deal, so he’ll need to prove his value to return to the team in 2024.
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