There isn’t much debate about the talent the Detroit Lions have at the skill positions on offense. They have a budding star in Kenny Golladay, a solid No. 2 receiver in Marvin Jones Jr., and couple of receiving threats in T.J. Hockenson and rookie running back D’Andre Swift—not to mention a whole new stable of backs with a ton of athleticism.
The biggest question for the Lions offense remains their offensive line, which could have up to three new starters in 2020. Change isn’t always a positive thing, but adding two mid-round draft picks—Jonah Jackson and Logan Stenberg—to the competition could certainly elevate the play of the unit.
Will it pay off this year? No one knows for sure, but one publication is at least mildly optimistic. PFF ranked all 32 teams’ offensive lines, and the Lions landed exactly in the middle of their list at 16th overall, which is actually a slight downgrade from last year, when Detroit finished 11th in PFF’s rankings.
PFF analyst Steve Palazzolo likes what the Lions have on the left side of the line, as Taylor Decker and Joe Dahl both had solid 2019 season. His concern, however, is for the other side of the line.
“The questions are on the right side, where Halapoulivaati Vaitai signed for $45 million over five years to start at right tackle,” Palazzolo wrote. “Vaitai is coming off a career-high 76.2 run block grade, but his pass-blocking grade of just 55.2 since 2016 ranks 84 out of 94 qualifiers, so that remains a major question mark. At right guard, third-round pick Jonah Jackson was our favorite pass protecting guard in the draft, and he has the all-around game to step right in as a starter.”
As far as the rest of the NFC North goes, the Lions came out quite well. Only the Green Bay Packers (fourth) ranked higher. The Bears (22nd) and Vikings (23rd) have some serious questions about their offensive line.
- How will the shortened offseason affect how the Lions approach their roster in training camp? Erik Schlitt of Lions Wire examines how a potential smaller roster may mean some tough cuts before camp even gets started.
- Get it together, NFL:
I’m texting with a few head coaches who are on the conference call discussing training camp rules...it sounds like everybody is quite frustrated with lack of answers and direction.— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) July 6, 2020
- 31 NFL writers for The Athletic voted on the top five NFL stadiums and the bottom five NFL stadiums. Because all 31 stadiums received at least one vote, The Athletic was able to rank all the stadiums. Ford Field came in 19th.
- Reminder: Matthew Stafford was pretty dang good last year:
Aggressive and accurate— PFF (@PFF) July 6, 2020
Average depth of completion (2019):
1. Matthew Stafford - 8.7
2. Jameis Winston - 8.6
3. Dak Prescott - 7.8
4. Ryan Tannehill - 7.5 pic.twitter.com/U07gCe8GiM
- Chris Burke of The Athletic has a nice breakdown of the Lions’ roster, noting what we do and don’t know about each position group.
- According to NFL insider *checks notes* Robert Griffin III, there will be no preseason games this year (Note: No one else has reported this).
Sources say there will be no preseason this year— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) July 7, 2020