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Notes: ESPN analyst believes Detroit Lions have 13th-best roster in NFL

The Lions’ talent level is right on the playoff bubble, per one ESPN analyst.

Detroit Lions v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Continuing this week of oddly-optimistic takes from national outlets, late last week, ESPN’s Mike Clay provided some interesting projections that painted the Detroit Lions in a somewhat promising light.

Clay ranked every NFL roster by every position, then gave his thoughts on each team’s overall roster. Notable rankings by position include the Lions in ninth at wide receiver, 25th at defensive tackle, and sixth at cornerback.

Put it all together, and Clay has the Lions with the 13th-best roster in the league, right there on the playoff bubble. That also puts them right there in contention for the NFC North title, as he has only the Packers above Detroit at 12th overall. The Vikings are next at 17th, while the Bears are way behind at 27th.

Much like the Football Outsider projections that have the Lions as NFC North favorites, Clay had similarly optimistic projections in 2019. Last year, the Lions had the 17th-best roster according to Clay. The big difference, however, is that last year he was much higher on the Lions’ division rivals. The Bears were fourth, the Packers eighth and the Vikings 12th.

So Clay’s projections lead to the same conclusion that many of these other “optimistic” articles are coming to. It’s not that the Lions are necessarily in line for a huge leap in performance, it’s that the NFC North has significantly regressed, leveling the playing field for Detroit in 2020.

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