Last year, the Detroit Lions allowed the seventh most sacks, finished with the fewest amount of rushing yards, and averaged the least amount of yards per carry.
But according to Pro Football Focus, the Lions offensive line could be one of the best in the entire league in 2018.
PFF ranked all 32 offensive line this week, and the Lions checked in at eighth overall on the list, the highest of any team in the NFC North.
The Lions offensive line will obviously go through some significant changes this year. First and foremost, they promise to be at least a little more healthy, having utilized their starting lineup for just 95 of 980 offensive snaps last season. But they should see improvement beyond that as well. Gone is Travis Swanson and in his place the Lions will either slot Graham Glasgow or first-round pick Frank Ragnow, who was PFF’s highest ranked center in the entire NCAA last year.
“The Lions have quietly built an offensive line that could be the best Matthew Stafford has ever played behind,” PFF’s Michael Renner wrote. “Now with Taylor Decker a year removed from a torn pectoral, the Lions have a chance to throw out five quality starters for the first time in a while.”
Interestingly enough, PFF ranked the Lions’ offensive line as 19th at the end of the 2017 season, despite the rough statistics and the massive injuries. Both T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner finished with PFF grades in the top 12 at their position.
Considering the addition of Ragnow, the improved health of the unit (for now) and a brand-new offensive line coach, it is completely justifiable for PFF to bump the Lions up 11 spots in the offseason.
This unit absolutely has the potential to be a top 10 unit, possibly even top five, but can it all come together in a single offseason? We’ll have to wait to find out.