We’ve now had almost three full weeks to assess the Detroit Lions roster in training camp. Though the pads have only been on for two weeks, we still have a pretty good idea of where this team’s strengths and weaknesses reside, especially after watching last Friday’s preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills.
There have been some surprises, for sure. The Lions’ secondary looks confident and undeniably better, though it’s still not clear how much better. Another strong point on the roster appears to be the defensive front. Although they’ve dealing with a lot of injuries right now, even the depth players are managing to make an impression during their increased playing time.
But, obviously, not all things are great with the Lions’ roster right now. There’s a reason many expect Detroit to struggle this year, and it has very little to do with the “Detroit vs. Everybody” reality it seems we’re sometimes living in.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions position group is the most concerning?
My answer: Obviously, wide receiver has to be high on the list. While I think Tyrell Williams has been good—it’s unclear if he’s ready to be No. 1 receiver good. Amon-Ra St. Brown has been the other big positive, and I think he could be in for a bigger rookie season than expected, but unfortunately, the optimism ends there. Breshad Perriman has not emerged as a threatening WR2 option, depth players like Victor Bolden, Kalif Raymond and Sage Surratt have done little to make it seem like they could contend for the WR2 spot. Maybe Quintez Cephus could win it, but his injury has made it tough to assess.
On the defensive side of the ball, it’s undoubtedly the linebacker group that continues to concern. Not only is there minimal depth there, but there are far too many questions about the starters, as well. Friday’s preseason game was a perfect example how the second line of defense could struggle against the run this year. Jamie Collins Sr. has yet to prove he can succeed outside of the Patriots defense, and Alex Anzalone has never held a full-time starting position for an entire season.
There are flashes in the depth with players like Shaun Dion Hamilton, and rookie linebacker Derrick Barnes may be the future of the position. But as it concerns the 2021 season, the linebackers could prove to be an issue.