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The Lions' No. 1 issue? It clearly rests on the defensive line

The Lions' defensive line depth will be further tested after losing Jordan Hill for the season. Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Every week we take one or two of your questions for a Lions Mailbag. To ask a question for the Mailbag, use the hashtag #LionsMailbag on Twitter, email me at michael.rothstein@espn.com or on Facebook.

Now, on to the question:

This was the concern all along. It was one of the main issues throughout last season for the Detroit Lions. It was mentioned over and over throughout the offseason and when the Lions barely addressed their defensive line in the draft, it continued on.

It showed against the Patriots on Friday, when Tom Brady was essentially untouched during his time in the game. And news for the defensive line got worse Sunday when Jordan Hill was put on IR. The defensive line remains the team's top problem as the regular season comes closer.

Hill is not a star. He’s not a starter, even, with A’Shawn Robinson and Haloti Ngata as the team’s defensive tackles. But losing Hill accentuates one of the main problems the Lions have.

Right now, there is minimal pass rush and beyond that, depth is a major factor, too. If the season started today, the Lions might have two undrafted free agents play depth roles at defensive end in Alex Barrett and Jeremiah Valoaga. The fourth defensive tackle is either going to be rookie Jeremiah Ledbetter or a pair of guys signed this week without much experience: Derrick Lott or Caushaud Lyons.

None of them scream potential breakout player, like the injured Kerry Hyder was last season and George Johnson a couple of years ago. And the Lions are still hampered by the fact that two of their depth defensive linemen, Khyri Thornton and Armonty Bryant, will be suspended for the first part of the season.

That crushes some of their depth; Thornton and Bryant would likely be Detroit’s No. 4 tackle and No. 4 end. Now, they’ll be watching for a while.

It would not be surprising to see the Lions investigate -- either through trade or free agency -- bringing in another experienced tackle or defensive end. Detroit has a surplus of corners and receivers, so the Lions might be able to flip one for a defensive lineman.

But as of now, that depth has to be a concern and it’s not clear exactly how Detroit is going to fix it.