Earlier in the week, ESPN Mike Clay called the Detroit Lions the most improved team in the NFL after their offseason moves. It turns out Clay wasn’t the only NFL analyst who was a big fan of Detroit’s free agency and draft picks.
Former NFL executive and current writer for NFL.com Gil Brandt listed the five best offseason in the NFL this year, and the Detroit Lions came in at No. 4 on his list.
“The Lions’ most expensive offseason acquisition -- signing former Patriot Trey Flowers -- headlined a series of moves that should lead to improvement in Year 2 of the Matt Patricia-Bob Quinn pairing,” Brandt wrote.
Brandt also noted the Justin Coleman signing and Jahlani Tavai additions as significant moves on defense. But he’s also a fan of the additions on the other side of the ball.
“Offensively, new coordinator Darrell Bevell should bring an increased emphasis on the running game, which is where the value of rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson (drafted No. 8 overall) comes into play,” Brandt wrote. “As I mentioned in my Hot 150 ranking, Hockenson -- whom I listed as the sixth-best prospect in the draft -- will help the ground attack with his blocking ability, in addition to being a potent receiving threat.”
Now, if we’re being completely honest, Brandt does seem to have a track record of being especially supportive of the Lions. In 2017, he said the Lions will win at least nine games (they won exactly nine). He was pretty darn high on them in 2016, too (they won nine games and got bounced in the playoffs’ first round).
I think Lions could be a surprise team this year. They're building this right. Quinn has them pointed in right direction.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) August 16, 2016
He has also been a big Bob Quinn stan from the minute he was hired:
Bob Quinn's going to make an excellent GM for the Lions. I'm a big fan of this very smart man.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) January 8, 2016
Regardless, Brandt isn’t just a random NFL analyst sitting behind a computer, he’s a well respected mind who has experience helping a team build a roster. So when he compliments the Lions’ offseason, that carries some actual weight—at least more so than a writer with no NFL management experience.