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Detroit Lions Week 6 stock report: Youth provides room for optimism vs. Bengals

Largely, this was a mess of a game, but there is some reason to remain confident in the direction of this team.

Cincinnati Bengals v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Huzzah! The Detroit Lions are the only winless team in the National Football League after the Jacksonville Jaguars handed a London loss to the Miami Dolphins in their Week 6 matchup.

Let’s check the temperature for the Lions on a national level:

Alright, doom and gloom removed from the onset, let’s check the stock report after the Lions’ Week 6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Stock Up: Jerry Jacobs, CB

If you look at Jacobs from the box score, it would appear he had a rough outing in coverage against offensive rookie of the year candidate Ja’Marr Chase. He was the most targeted cornerback on Sunday, giving up five receptions for 102 yards, but Jacobs did a lot of good in just his second NFL start.

As mentioned by Jeremy Reisman in his report card from earlier this week, it took a near-perfect pass from Joe Burrow to complete this ball to Chase. Outside of that play, Jacobs broke up a pass later to Tee Higgins and was a very active tackler, recording a couple of stops in run defense. Sure, part of this stock up is taking context into account because Jacobs is a player virtually no one thought would make this team, but is now starting opposite of Amani Oruwariye. Detroit’s youth playing above expectations was a theme for this one, and Jacobs was no exception.

Stock Down: Jared Goff, QB

He threw the ball away on fourth-and-4 because he forgot opposing teams can decline penalties.

If that wasn’t enough to warrant Goff’s stock status, let’s use Dan Campbell’s postgame comments about how Goff needs to step up and put more of the weight of turning this offense around on his shoulders. Goff’s first half was perhaps his most underwhelming performance as a Detroit Lion to date—he completed just nine of 15 passes for 38 yards and an interception in the first half and padded his stats with 120 yards passing on Detroit’s final two possessions of the game when they were trailing 27-0.

Stock Up: Derrick Barnes, LB

Have a day, Derrick Barnes.

As mentioned in the tweet above, Barnes led the team in tackles and had this incredibly acrobatic pass breakup late in the game. I know, tackles aren’t a great measure for a player’s productivity or efficiency, but Barnes was Detroit’s highest-graded player on Sunday by Pro Football Focus—recording a 90.5 grade on defense and a 90.7 grade in coverage.

Barnes also led the defense in stops—“...tackles that constitute a ‘failure’ for the offense” according to PFF, recording four stops in total and not allowing a single completion while in coverage. Detroit will need players like Barnes and Jacobs to continue to show up and progress from week to week to assure fans this team is headed in the right direction.

Stock Down: Tracy Walker, S

Tracy Walker has been bouncing back and forth between brilliant and head-scratching performances all season long. After Sunday happened, Walker ended up earning his spot here.

This season, Walker has been making an impact in defending the run where he ranks as PFF’s third-best safety in run defense. While he’s been stellar in that respect, Walker has been hurting the Lions' last line of defense. He earned his second-worst coverage grade of the season against Cincy, but the play above is indicative of how costly the miscommunication between cornerbacks and safeties has been this season.

Quick Hits

Stock Up

Austin Bryant, EDGE: Bryant absolutely worked Riley Reiff on this play where the Bengals were knocking on the door. He also recorded a couple of stops on defense and did all that in just 26 snaps.

Alim McNeill, NT: McNeill made the most of his season-high 30 snaps on Sunday. He was stout in the run game and even got a hit on Burrow to force a hurried, incomplete pass.

Julian Okwara, EDGE: Slowly but surely, Detroit has given more playing time to Okwara after injuries have created an opportunity for increased playing time. He, along with Charles Harris, each had three pressures on the afternoon with Okwara getting home for a sack.

Charles Harris, EDGE: Who would’ve thunk that Harris would be the team’s best bang for their buck after signing a one-year, $1.75 million deal this offseason. Week in and week out, he’s the team’s most consistent pass-rushing threat—and this week he chipped admirably against the run.

T.J. Hockenson, TE: Make what you will of whether or not Hockenson ran a different route than Goff was expecting him to run on that third-and-4 play early on, Hockenson was just a ghost in this offense for a couple of weeks. Eleven targets and a team-high eight receptions are the kind of attention he deserves every week.

Stock Down

Trinity Benson, WR: Injuries have ravaged the Lions' depth at wide receiver, and after spending a fifth-round pick on Benson at the conclusion of the preseason to bolster their corps, Benson getting the healthy scratch isn’t very encouraging considering who the team was lining up at wideout on Sunday.

Matt Nelson, RT: Hopefully Taylor Decker is close to returning because Nelson just isn’t ready to be a long-term sub on the offensive line. Nelson allowed a team-high four pressures against Cincy.

You know what, all of ‘em, OL: If Detroit can’t run the football, their offense falls on the shoulders of Goff—and that’s definitely not a good thing. The offense line couldn’t make an impact in the run game and it left the Lions lost for the rest of the game.

Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift, RB: Detroit’s running backs had perhaps their most difficult challenge so far this year against a pretty good Bengals’ run defense. The production from the Lions' running backs? 17 carries for 35 yards, six receptions for 41 yards.