The Detroit Lions have been hard at work the last few months trying to re-shape the image of their franchise ahead of 2022, and it seems as if their hard work has paid off in a big way.
All of a sudden, the Lions are looking like a franchise that has begun to turn over a new leaf, and that’s being reflected in some of the praise that is being generated after Detroit’s offseason has come into more complete focus.
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Recently, Pro Football Focus and writer Sam Monson took a look at grading every team’s offseason. Interestingly enough, the Lions received one of the highest grades of anyone in the NFL. They took home an A- from the site for their work so far in 2022, and the site had Detroit with an “above average” offseason to go with an A+ in the draft. That all adds up to a very elite mark for Brad Holmes and company.
The only reservation Monson had was Detroit not chasing a quarterback, however, as he wrote, “in the multi-year rebuild project they have undertaken, there’s no guarantee that was ever planned at this stage, as it could have always been planned to come in Year 3 when everything else is already in place.”
Otherwise, Monson liked Detroit’s move to add wideouts DJ Chark and Jameson Williams to the offense along with potential defensive cornerstone Aidan Hutchinson. Add it up and it’s a big mark for Detroit this offseason, which needed one off a tough 3-13-1 finish last year.
As a whole, this is good news for the Lions as it relates to their future and could set the team up to do some damage in the future if everything pans out.
Lions’ 2022 Offseason Recap
Detroit’s work started early, and it began with re-signing multiple in-house free agents. Before free agency got going and reached its fever pitch, the Lions had brought back names like wideouts Kalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds, safety Tracy Walker, defensive lineman Charles Harris and linebacker Alex Anzalone. In terms of outside spending, Detroit didn’t do much, adding wideout DJ Chark to the offense and linebackers Chris Board and Jarrad Davis, safety DeShon Elliott and cornerback Mike Hughes. All are underrated players who could fly under-the-radar for the Lions in 2022.
When the draft came around, the Lions stuck with the plan as well. They landed strong Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan in a stroke of luck, who will be a slam-dunk fit for the defense. After that, the Lions traded up for wideout Jameson Williams, who should add a dynamic element to their offense. Day two brought the team some more defensive help with gritty and classy Josh Paschal. Super athletic safety Kirby Joseph closed out the day in round three, and should contend for a role quickly in the Motor City on a needy defense. During day three, the Lions added James Mitchell, a tight end from Virginia Tech, Malcolm Rodriguez, an Oklahoma State linebacker and James Houston, a Jackson State linebacker. Chase Lucas, a cornerback from Arizona State, was the team’s final selection.
As a whole, this offseason seemed to address plenty of needs for the Lions in a very strong way. To that end, it’s not a surprise to see the work of Brad Holmes placing high in the analytical mind of PFF.
Detroit’s Approach Changing Minds Within National Media
Seeing the smart approach from the Lions has made believers of plenty nationally. While the Lions didn’t add a primetime game to their 2022 schedule and haven’t seen a ton of hype surround them in a new season, there’s a notion that the team is getting set to turn over a new leaf and start to do some winning. PFF has been far from the only cite to give Detroit a shout-out for what they have done so far. ESPN’s Mina Kimes recently praised the Lions’ direction, and former general manager Mike Tannenbaum loved their draft class.
Obviously, the more work Detroit does and the better it begins to pay off on the field, the more they could look like a team to contend with in the future. After the 2022 offseason, some may say that’s about to happen very quickly.