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:
- For Mother’s Day, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press published a fantastic article on Jerry Jacobs and his challenging upbringing after losing his mother at a young age.
- 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:
- Another goodie from Birkett: he talked to Mohamed Ibrahim about why he chose the Lions when he had UDFA offers from Cardinals, Chargers and Ravens. Spoiler: It’s a good look for new running backs coach Scottie Montgomery.
- Over the weekend, I talked about the Lions’ advantage of having more rest than their opponents heading into certain games during the 2023 regular season. Here’s that argument laid out graphically. While the Lions only have a net advantage of +1 day, they have an edge in five games vs. a deficit in three:
we need to focus closely on rest disparity this yr since imbalance is at historic highs— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) May 16, 2023
which teams benefit most?
which are challenged most?
let's dig in team-by-team
start by reading this for @NFLonFOX https://t.co/TVnV7w09bU
INTRODUCING: 2023 Net Rest Edges
- At last week’s rookie minicamp, Lions defensive back Brian Branch explained how he now has an Amon-Ra St. Brown-like chip on his shoulder after attending the 2023 NFL Draft in person and not being selected in the first round.
- The Lions entire secondary may have a chip on their shoulder after seeing these cornerback rankings from ESPN’s Mike Clay:
2023 NFL Cornerback Unit Ranks and Depth Charts.— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) May 15, 2023
The Jalen Ramsey trade launches the Dolphins to #1 and sinks the Rams to #32 pic.twitter.com/gQW9P8Jknw
- Rookie minicamp highlights!