By Dan Jenkins
The Detroit Lions have been busy this offseason. The organization has gotten a makeover from the top down and new general manager Bob Quinn has quickly tried to lay a foundation to turn the team into a contender.
However, ESPN doesn’t seem to think that the Lions have a very good team. Forget the front office and coach Jim Caldwell, writer Sam Monson thinks the Lions have the ninth-worst roster in the NFL today.
“Calvin Johnson’s retirement is a huge loss for the Lions. He was their best player and is the type of weapon who can’t be replaced. Ansah and Slay are both talented young players on the cusp of greatness, but there is too much poor play surrounding them on defense.”
Monson also shows no love for quarterback Matthew Stafford. He lists the team’s top five players — now that Johnson is retired — leaving Stafford wanting.
“Offensively, the O-line has some solid young pieces, but it hasn’t shown cohesion yet. If each linemen develops and plays to his potential, this unit actually has the ability to be much better. It’s a problem right now, however, making life more difficult for quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is not the kind of passer who can overcome consistent pressure. In 2015, Stafford’s passer rating under no pressure was 108.7, but it tumbled almost 40 points to 69.3 when he felt heat. He was pressured on 35 percent of his dropbacks.”
Here’s who Monson sees as the Lions’ top tier players — Darius Slay, Ezekiel Ansah, Golden Tate, Theo Riddick and Haloti Ngata.
The only team in the NFC North rated lower than the Lions is the Chicago Bears, while the Green Bay Packers have the second-best roster behind the New England Patriots.
Sounds like Quinn has some more work to do before the Lions get any national love.