Detroit Lions near bottom of 2023 NFL off-season rankings

The Detroit Lions are holding OTAs (other team activities) this week in Allen Park. The team's new free-agent signings, rookies, and returning veterans will take the field together for the first time. In an article recently published on ESPN, NFL analyst Bill Barnwell ranks each team based on their offseason, and the Lions came in near the bottom.

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Detroit Lions near bottom of 2023 NFL off-season rankings

According to Barnwell, the Detroit Lions had the No. 28 ranked offseason. Here are some of the key points from what Barnwell had to say in his breakdown.

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What went right:

  • The Detroit Lions addressed their biggest weakness, the secondary, by rebuilding it.
  • General manager Brad Holmes signed reliable corners Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley, as well as playmaker Brian Branch.
  • C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who tied for the league lead in interceptions, was added to play safety and slot corner.
  • The pass defense improved from ranking 32nd in QBR to 11th in pressure rate.

What went wrong:

  • The Detroit Lions prioritized low-value positions in free agency, failing to make significant moves except for re-signing Alex Anzalone.
  • The team used their first-round picks on running back Jahmyr Gibbs and off-ball linebacker Jack Campbell, positions considered low-value in terms of draft picks.
  • Second-round picks were used on safety Brian Branch and tight end Sam LaPorta, again low-value positions.
  • The Lions didn't address the need for an edge rusher to complement Aidan Hutchinson and lacked front-seven help.
  • The additions in the secondary, while improving the team, may not be long-term solutions due to contract durations and injury concerns.

What's left to do:

  • The Detroit Lions need to add an edge rusher to bolster their pass rush.
  • While rookie James Houston showed promise, the team should not rely solely on him and should consider bringing in an established pass-rusher like Yannick Ngakoue or Frank Clark.

Bottom Line: Barnwell missed the boat

The way I look at it, it seems that Bill Barnwell completely missed the boat with his analysis of the Lions' offseason. The improvements made in their secondary alone make a significant impact on the team's chances of success. With additions like Cameron Sutton, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Emmanuel Moseley, and Brian Branch, the Lions have addressed their biggest weakness and substantially improved their roster. It's clear that the team is in a much better position now compared to last year, and their chances of winning the NFC North are strong. Barnwell's assertion that the Lions had the 28th-best offseason in the NFL seems unfounded, as the team's overall trajectory suggests otherwise.

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