Last year, in a piece for ESPN, Pro Football Focus ranked the Detroit Lions' roster 11th in the NFL. The Lions got praise for having "elite" players like Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh, and having "high quality" players like Joique Bell, Larry Warford and Stephen Tulloch helped their cause.
Given that the Lions lost Suh in free agency, you might think they have taken a step back in this year's roster rankings from PFF. That's not the case, though. In fact, the Lions actually moved up to seventh in this year's edition of the rankings, and Detroit is viewed as a team that isn't all that far away from being a "real contender."
The Lions have done a really good job of upgrading their roster the past few seasons. Elite talents like Johnson remain, but they have been augmented by a steady influx of talent on both sides of the ball: Wide receiver Tate, free safety Quin, defensive end Ansah and guard Warford.
As a result, the Lions have a roster with few holes, even after the departure of Ndamukong Suh in free agency. They nearly won a close, controversial playoff game last season, and it won't take much of an improvement for Detroit to be a real contender in 2015.
In the NFC North, the Green Bay Packers unsurprisingly led the way by coming in second overall in these rankings. Next was Detroit at No. 7, and the Minnesota Vikings were actually only one spot behind at No. 8. The Chicago Bears, meanwhile, were all the way down at No. 25.