In a Michael Lombardi article about what each NFL team should be worrying about during this dead period, he wrote this about the Lions:
" Detroit Lions: Lions new general manager Brad Holmes gets to spend another summer worrying about starting quarterback Jared Goff playing well enough. Holmes was with the Rams from 2013-20, so he understands what Goff can and cannot accomplish. But what should concern him more than Goff is whether his defense has enough speed and athletic talent to make plays. It might take three or four good drafts before the Lions have a fast and explosive front seven."
3 or 4 good drafts? My sense is that using one 1st and our 2nd round pick wisely next year–even while dumping Collins–should give us a fast and explosive front seven, maybe not the best, but close to it. I’m counting on the maturing trio of Onwuzurike, McNeill and Barnes to validate Brad’s vision, though hitting on all 3 is probably less likely than the Pistons picking #1.
If Julian is a player that gets us a good part of the way there. Then probably need at least one more linebacker that can run like a safety. Maybe one more twitchy edge. We can easily get there with one more offseason.
They’ll go undramatically on coaching alone. We need to remember how historically bad Patricia was. If the new cats are even mediocre, we upgrade by a mile. Then look at the difference in scheme…Then the difference in Talent up front. I think we’re gonna get beaten up on short timing routes over the middle, but it’s not going to look like last year, when we were absolutely ran over.
I feel we could possibly be a 20th ranked D, this year. Maybe 25? Nice upgrade, but not enough to do anything meaningful post season. Next year, we still have some fairly sizable holes to fill, but 2 first rounders should help, now that we have adults making our picks.
Yep, if you go back to last season, we played a lot of the games close, yet on 3rd down and in the 4th quarter, Patricia would result into typical play calling and rush 3 and cover with 8 playing man to man, usually with a backer cover a slot receiver
If the defense takes that long to become good Holmes and Canpbell are likely fired before they get good.
The idea that a team has 3-4 drafts to get good is a stupid thing to say/type:
This team has solid veterans in Michael Brockers, Trey Flowers and Jamie Collins. We have young and exciting talent in Okudah (just 22 years old…Feb Bday), Amani Oruwariye (25 years old), Julian Okwara (23 years old), Romeo Okwara (26 years old), Derrick Barnes (22 years old), Ifeatu Melifonwu (22 years old), and then our new DTs. Levi is 23 and Alin is 21 and we have Penisini who is 24. There are concerns at safety but the guys we have are at least fast…they have played poorly and that is a concern (Tracy Walker and Will Harris).
This team has pretty solid answers on that side of the football but legit questions about our safeties and LBers should keep all of us from thinking this is a great unit. They aren’t. But could they be a mid-point defense? I think so. Giving up say between the 14th and 18th most points? Yes that is possible ESP. if Collins is a BEAST and our CBs play well.
Honestly I’m not expecting McNeill to look like he did as a rusher at NC State. I think they are going to bulk him up a bit and have him as the starting NT (who still has a little juice) flanked by Onwuzurike (that’s your interior rusher) and Brockers who’ll mostly set the edge. Call me crazy (like a fox) but I think JOk is a better 3-4 OLB pass rusher than Flowers is right now this second. If he takes off this season like I expect him to, as THE most purely explosive guy we’ve got (including his bro) then we may not need to take an EDGE guy high up. I think we are going to prepare to move way up to to the very top to take the QB next year (in an unfortunately weak class at this point), unless Goff shows out big time. TBD.
I actually think the front 7 is much improved compared to last year with the additions of Brockers, Levi, and Alim. Add a healthy Flowers and Okwara coming off 10 sacks, plus his brother has some real juice coming off the edge if he can stay on the field. Collins is a solid LB.
The LB depth is the real question mark to me though, the D-line is in the best shape it’s been in since Suh and Avril were together. Next year I could see us using one of our first rounders on an impact pass rusher to replace Flowers, who is likely going to be cut following the 2021 season due to his ridiculous contract.