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Notes: Several analysts believe Detroit Lions had NFL’s best offseason

The Detroit Lions are being heralded as one of the most improved team in the NFL after the 2023 NFL Draft and free agency.

Philadelphia Eagles v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Now that the dust has settled and the Detroit Lions have a full 90-man roster, some NFL analysts are looking around the league to see which teams put themselves in the best positions this offseason. The Lions have big expectations in 2023, and several experts are crediting general manager Brad Holmes for an outstandingly executed offseason. In fact, a few outlets point to the Lions as having the best offseason in the entire league.

First, let’s look at CBS Sports. Cody Benjamin ranked all 32 teams’ offseasons, and he put the Detroit Lions in the top spot. The Lions shared the A-tier with seven other teams (Jets, Panthers, Bears, Eagles, Steelers, Broncos, Giants).

“They addressed glaring secondary holes both aggressively and frugally, adding a trio of physical starters in CB Cameron Sutton, CB Emmanuel Moseley and S C.J. Gardner-Johnson for less than $50M combined,” Benjamin wrote. “David Montgomery is a fine lateral substitute for Jamaal Williams in the backfield. And retaining John Cominsky and Alex Anzalone ensures the rest of their “D” has fight. They drafted in an unorthodox way, prioritizing devalued positions early, but RB Jahmyr Gibbs adds a lot of electricity, and S Brian Branch and LB Jack Campbell should bring even more range to the defense.”

Then there’s PFF. Despite the publication being vocally against the Lions’ strategy of drafting positions of low value early in the draft, PFF’s Sam Monson and Brad Spielberger gave Detroit one of the highest offseason grades during the “PFF NFL Show” on Tuesday afternoon. Overall, they gave Detroit an A-, but Monson believes it’s a straight A.

“Overall, I think the Detroit Lions had one of the best offseasons in the NFL,” Monson said. “They did exactly what you’re supposed to do, which is, ‘Let’s prop this thing up in free agency. Let’s make sure that we don’t have to force these (draft) picks.’ So we bring in these guys in the secondary, so now we don’t have to spend No. 6 overall on a corner, just because we need a starting corner. We can play the board. We can take players that we want to take. We don’t have to force the need pick.”

And while Monson addressed the concerns with the Lions draft, he still thinks they came away with a haul.

“Did they play it the correct way? As much as I think they had this freakish run of targeting the least valuable positions in the NFL with running back, linebacker, tight end and safety in their first four picks, the only one that I would really quibble with is Jahmyr Gibbs, just because at No. 12 overall I just don’t think that they can craft a role for him that will justify that selection, particularly when it involves passing on a guy like Calijah Kancey.

Monson later concludes, “Generally, I quite like this class.”

You can watch PFF’s discussion on the Lions’ offseason here, with the section on Detroit starting at the 55:50 mark.

To round things out, the Sporting News ranked the Lions’ offseason fourth best.

Let’s move to the rest of today’s Notes:

  • Monday was a neat day for the Lions rookies, as they got to visit Ford Field for the first time since becoming part of the team:

  • The Lions entire secondary may have a chip on their shoulder after seeing these cornerback rankings from ESPN’s Mike Clay:

  • Rookie minicamp highlights!

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