2018 Detroit Lions Depth Chart
|Quarterback||Matthew Stafford||Matt Cassel|
|Running Back||Kerryon Johnson||Theo Riddick||LeGarrette Blount|
|Left Wide Receiver||Kenny Golladay||Brandon Powell|
|Right Wide Receiver||Marvin Jones||TJ Jones||Bradley Marquez|
|Tight End||Luke Willson||Michael Roberts||Levine Toilolo|
|Left Tackle||Taylor Decker||Tyrell Crosby|
|Left Guard||Frank Ragnow||Joe Dahl|
|Right Guard||TJ Lang||Kenny Wiggins|
|Right Tackle||Ricky Wagner||Andrew Donnal|
The Detroit Lions left no doubt in the mind of team skeptics when signing Matt Stafford to an extensive contract a few seasons back. The contract would go down as one of the richest in NFL history. Since signing this contract, Matt Stafford has failed to lead the team to the playoffs. Competing in the NFC North doesn’t help, nor does playing blind selections with coaching options. The team is now under the leadership of Matt Patricia, the former defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots. He is a proven winner who immediately creates impact settings on defense. Pair his mind with the offensive working of Jim Bob Cooter and you have a sound environment for players to strive in. The Lions were also active this off-season, fixating their interests in select areas to improve their opening day roster.
It is never easy for a new head coach to come in and face a depleted roster. One of the team’s biggest losses can from the linebacker core in Tahir Whitehead. Whitehead was a good coverage option for tight ends and backs. He was also quick from the edge, a position where the team excelled last season. Patricia took this information and ran with it the minute free agency hit. He snagged Devon Kennard, a young linebacker who played for the Giants this past season. While Kennard excelled from an inside position, he also gave flashes of brilliance up the middle. He is a true coverage backer, with position players causing him no issues. His reads are going to have to strengthen, but this is something that comes with age. He is a fine replacement for a top talent, representing a good first step for Patricia and team. Bringing in Christian Jones from Chicago represented the second replacement player for the outside build. Increasing the strength at the outside is going to open the middle for attack, an instance Jarrad Davis is more than comfortable with. Assisting Ziggy Ansah on the edge will increase his value to the team and should also increase the openings he has to get second-level penetration. Plugging up the middle will be newest addition, Sylvester Williams. He is a wide load that really clogs the line, preventing inside gaps from forming. This reduces the run penetration an offense can have, calling for increases in the passing game.
The offense also got some much-needed support this off-season. The running back position in Detroit has been handled by committee in recent memory. The last truly effective back to be featured on the roster might have been Reggie Bush, which isn’t saying much for a bloodline at this position. The team added LeGarrette Blount to the backfield this off-season. This big and bruising back have proven that he has plenty left in the tank. There have been numerous occasions where Blount was signed and ignored by media outlets, only to blow up that season. This will be the case for Blount this season. As a situational location, Detroit’s offensive attack favors a bruising back. They have the size needed upfront to create running and passing lanes. They also have a mobile quarterback that possesses a threat with the ball in his hands. Expect Blount to share time with Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick, as Detroit favors the run-pass option style of offense. Blount will be the first option in the running attack, a placement that he has done well with in the past. A small addition to the passing game was signing Luke Wilson from Seattle. Wilson is more of a blocker than he is receiver, which is a replacement piece for the departure of Eric Ebron. Wilson does have more efficiency in the receiving department than Ebron did, so Stafford might find favor in certain situations.
The draft brought offensive protection to Stafford with Frank Ragnow. Ragnow completes an offensive line that should be effective and serviceable in 2018. The team returns T.J. Lang for a second consecutive season after he reached the Pro Bowl last season. Taylor Decker is another one of their high draft picks that has only played a few seasons in the league, so the talent pool is still raw. These guys have the tangibles to be a formidable force to opposing defenses and the protection will need to be on point for this offense to excel within a tough division.