It’s the offseason, which usually means pent-up anger from Detroit Lions fans as NFL analysts make predictions that either overlook the Lions or openly insult them.
Well, you can put away the pitchfork for this one. A panel of eight ESPN NFL experts offered their opinions on Monday as to the most improved team this offseason. One brave analyst, ESPN fantasy writer Mike Clay, chose the Detroit Lions.
“General manager Bob Quinn has quietly done a nice job filling voids on Detroit’s roster over the past few months,” Clay wrote. “Those moves included revamping the tight end position with Jesse James and first-round pick T.J. Hockenson, upgrading with Trey Flowers on the edge of the front seven, overhauling cornerback behind Darius Slay by signing Rashaan Melvin and Justin Coleman, and adding Day 2 talent at linebacker (Jahlani Tavai) and safety (Will Harris).”
That’s a pretty thorough recap of the Lions’ offseason strategy, and one we’re not really accustomed to seeing from a national outlet. The only major point Clay misses is the changing of offensive coordinators, which could honestly be viewed as a positive or negative. Obviously, it seemed it was time to move on from Jim Bob Cooter, but the transition to a new offense isn’t likely to click immediately.
But Clay doesn’t stop there. He thinks the Lions have improved enough to potentially capture their first division title in decades.
“Every year there is a team that goes from last to first in its division, and the Lions have a shot to be that team in a wide-open NFC North.”
Well, I guess it’s no longer Detroit vs. Everybody.