If Pro Football Focus truly hates the Detroit Lions, like many of their fans claim, they certainly aren’t showing it. For the first two weeks of the season, Lions players have graded out overwhelmingly positive, with many individuals ranking in the top 10 of their position.
After a solid victory on the road over the New York Giants, the hype only increased on some of these players. Here’s a Week 2 recap of PFF’s take on the Detroit Lions.
Detroit may have the best secondary in the league
Last week, we noted that Quandre Diggs was the highest-rated cornerback in the entire league. After the Giants game, that remains true.
But don’t sleep on the Lions’ safeties. Glover Quin, who just signed a two-year extension this offseason, is among the top 10 safeties in the league:
Glover Quinn ranks fifth among Safeties at 88.3. Killebrew 10th at 83.3. https://t.co/MjvQDSq8vm— PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Detroit) September 19, 2017
And, what’s that? Did I just read that Miles Killebrew is graded as the 10th-best safety in the entire league? You betcha. Through two games, Killebrew already has seven tackles, three pass breakups and one interception returned for a touchdown. Considering Tavon Wilson left Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury (and graded out horribly with a 38.3 grade), we may see a lot more Killebrew in our future.
And we haven’t even mentioned Darius Slay yet, who remains a pretty decent shutdown corner. As of now, Slay ranks 24th among cornerbacks with a solid 81.8 grade (compared to Diggs’ 89.7).
Jeremiah Ledbetter is still killing it
Last week, we noted how PFF already fell in love with the Lions’ sixth-round rookie defensive tackle.
Ledbetter only played in 18 snaps on Monday, but he was another standout performance according to the analytics site. He earned himself a 79.8 grade with a pressure and stop in limited playing time. He remains the top interior defender on the team, and is still among the top 25 in the league:
Rookie Jeremiah Ledbetter has been a huge surprise on the interior ranking 24th among DIs at 80.6. Top DI grade on the team. https://t.co/wnh9VcRUHd— PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Detroit) September 19, 2017
The offensive line was all over the place
It should come as no surprise that Greg Robinson graded out extremely poorly in the Giants game. According to PFF, he was called for three penalties, gave up five of the Lions’ eight quarterback pressures, and was the lowest graded player on the team (34.2).
But it wasn’t all bad. Much maligned Graham Glasgow had a huge rebound game, allowing zero pressures in the game and grading out with a score of 81.7.
As for the right side of the line, they are living up to the contracts the Lions shelled out for this offseason. Both Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang rank in the top 10 at their respective positions:
Rick Wagner currently ranks 5th among OTs at 83.5.— PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Detroit) September 19, 2017
T.J. Lang at 10th among Guards with a grade of 82.5. https://t.co/rpfD3zoMD4
And while we’re talking about free agents to help blocking, tight end Darren Fells currently ranks first in the NFL in run blocking.
Big defensive performances in the front seven
It was no surprise that Ezekiel Ansah graded out tremendously after tallying three sacks against Ereck Flowers. He was the highest graded defender on the Lions this week:
Top graded #Lions from MNF on D:— Brett Whitefield (@PFF_Brett) September 19, 2017
Ziggy Ansah - 85.9
Jarrad Davis - 82.3
Darius Slay - 79.8
J Ledbetter - 79.8
Tahir Whitehead - 78.1
But check out the name right below him. Rookie Jarrad Davis rebounded in a huge way after grading out with a score of just 50.3 in his NFL debut.
The grade above was given a few hours after the game. After re-consulting the tape, Davis’ grade actually jumped significantly, giving him the third-best score of any linebacker in Week 2:
Please be okay, Jarrad.
Eric Ebron did a good
Obviously Ebron did a good job in the receiving game, pulling in all five of his targets for 42 yards and a touchdown, but you may be surprised to learn that he also has been grading out pretty well as a blocker:
Eric Ebron has shown improvement in this department ranking 21st among tight ends with a run block grade of 71.9. Its early though. https://t.co/voF2kazCwD— Brett Whitefield (@PFF_Brett) September 20, 2017
As Brett Whitefield notes, it’s early in the season for all of these numbers, but things are looking overwhelmingly positive through Week 2 of the season. Hopefully that continues, because the reigning NFC Champions are coming to town this week.