This article is not meant as self-aggrandizement for the DSN Media team, but we kinda called this one. I feel it appropriate to give full marks to Don Drysdale, A. J. Reilly, Ryan Griffin, and myself for seeing a freight train barrelling towards the Detroit Lions‘ rebuild process. The Jameson Williams pick is a lame duck now in the face of what we’ve been presented this season, and all of us at DSN Media saw it coming a mile away.
Let me set the proper stage for this:
The DSN Media team, or at least some of it, came together for our coverage of the 2022 NFL Draft. In that draft, we live streamed through the first round, covering everything possible and reacting live to each and every pick. For those that may have forgotten, in the middle portions of the first round, chaos ensued. Trade after trade happened and wide receivers started to be sniped off the board. It started with the New Orleans Saints moving up to get Chris Olave, an interesting pull considering the Saints signed Jarvis Landry in the offseason and had Michael Thomas coming back from injury.
Suddenly, as was a shock to all of us in the room at the time, the Detroit Lions got in on the fun and traded away their first-round picks to move up 20 spots to #12. With that pick, the Detroit Lions selected wide receiver, Jameson Williams. This pick brought pandemonium for all of us on the Media team. Don Drysdale left the room, raging about the selection and knowing the pick minutes before it was announced. He huffed and he puffed and he blew the house down, causing all of us to stress about what was impending.
A. J. Reilly, from DSN’s Beyond the Box & The Corner, had nothing but contempt on his face. The selection was what we all feared and speculated, that the Lions would get caught up in the frenzy and brashly trade up to select offense when it was sincerely not a position of need. Our fear was Brad Holmes had selected flash and showmanship in favor of roster development for what was obviously the weaker unit; the defense.
According to Pro Football Reference, the Lions’ defense is ranked worst in the NFL in total yards allowed (1779), first downs allowed (105), rushing yards per carry (5.6), first downs by rushing (40), and points allowed (141). Obviously, these stats are horrific and put the Lions on pace to have one of the worst defenses in NFL history. Alongside this, the Detroit Lions offense has been surprisingly effective, first in the NFL in total yards (1747), first in yards per play (6.5), first in rushing yards per carry (5.9), and fifth in the NFL in passing yards at 1091.
I would ask any intrepid reader; what more can you ask from the offense?
Consider that these offensive numbers have been put up with injuries all along the offense from skill players to offensive linemen. Also, keep in mind all of this production has been done WITHOUT the #12 pick that was drafted to boost this offense to another level. And yet, the offense is leading the league in yardage and yardage per play, leaving one to question what gain does Williams really give this offense that isn’t there already? Would he really be able to have a greater impact than Amon Ra St. Brown? Would he have had the same career-defining game as T. J. Hockinson had this past weekend? Probably not.
Then we look to the feckless defense that has been trotted out on the field. Rather than have a tool to add to an already humming car, why didn’t the Lions keep their draft capital and fortify their inferior defensive unit? Again the questions pile up about whether a Devin Lloyd, Kaiir Elam, George Karlaftis, or Daxton Hill could’ve been better served for this team than Jameson Williams. The lot of us in the DSN Media team all wanted defense and defense and more defense. I advocated strongly for Jordan Davis IF the team was trading up as they did. Davis has been very impressive thus far for the NFC-leading Philadelphia Eagles and absolutely would’ve been a quality addition to the defense in Detroit along with helping #2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson with his inside pressures.
It is increasingly feeling as if the Jameson Williams pick was a luxury taken by a team that didn’t have the roster to do so. Strengthening an already reliable, solid offense wasn’t going to get this team to eight or nine wins. Drafting for depth on your defense, fortifying your weakest unit, and giving Aaron Glenn more than a sixth-round pick for tools to work with would be infinitely more ideal than an injured wide receiver that will get this offense from an A to an A+.
None of this is revisionist history either. We had this pick pegged from the start, showing our concerns and fears far before the rest of the city caught on. The situation is growing so dire that even local radio hosts that LOVED the draft pick are beginning to come to DSN’s side. We fought and argued with the city and its fans over this, not to be right, but because we had a legitimate concern with the state of the rebuild for Detroit because of this luxury pick. What has transpired was all of our fears and more, and now the cupboard is bare and the Lions are 1-3 with an offense that deserves much better than this defense provides.