I don’t think there’s been a more one-sided Detroit Lions stock report this season than the one I wrote after Saturday night’s win over the Denver Broncos. The Lions simply didn’t have a weak spot on offense or defense from start to finish and played arguably their most complete game of the season. Lions players were coming out of the woodwork and everyone got a piece of the pie.
Question of the day: Which Lions player was the biggest surprise against the Broncos?
My answer: A lot of eyes were on Khalil Dorsey’s stint as a starting outside corner, and kudos to him for that, but for me, the biggest surprise was Kindle Vildor.
Vildor stepped into the CB2 rotation, alternating with Dorsey while former starter Jerry Jacobs only got special teams snaps throughout the night. He didn’t have a ton of flash plays, but his highlight was a backside corner blitz that forced Russell Wilson into an incompletion and almost more.
Aaron Glenn has been challenging Josh Paschal to step up as a pass rusher. Paschal said he would: "I owe the Detroit Lions that and I owe my brothers that."— Will Burchfield (@burchie_kid) December 17, 2023
He gets the third down sack and the #Lions defense is cooking. All set up by a QB pressure by ... Kindle Vildor?
It was just one highlight play, but it spoke volumes about the level of trust that Aaron Glenn and his staff have in Vildor after just a month with the team. Coach Dan Campbell has also spoken highly of Vildor in recent weeks, stating before the Bears game:
“Always liked the type of athlete that he was, the competitor that he is. He really fits what we do, because he can do a little bit of everything. He’s tough, he’ll tackle, so we play him in a variety of coverages. But, also, he’s a smart, crafty guy. He’s got cover skills and so look, it’s an opportunity to get up, let him compete and little bit and see where it goes.”
We went from next-to-no Vildor to him playing almost a third of defensive snaps in primetime against one of the hottest offenses in the league. He would finish as the Lions’ highest-graded defender, per PFF. I had many outcomes on my Saturday night bingo sheet, but that was not one of them.
I’m really excited about what he showed Saturday night, alongside everyone else who was involved in the shakeup on defense. It may just be what this defense needed to step their game up down the stretch.
Which Lions player was the biggest surprise against the Broncos? Let us know in the comments below.