NFL Franchise Exit Report: Detroit Lions

By: Little Italy (Publisher)

Follow on Twitter: @LILITALY853

Division: NFC North

2020 Finish: 26th

Record: (5-11)

2021 First RD Draft Pick: 7th

What went Right in 2020?

In terms of what went right for this Lions team in 2020, I can honestly say only two things truly went right. The first thing that went right was rookie running back D’Andre Swift showing he can be not only a workhorse RB1 for the Lions, but that fantasy RB1 as well. The Lions have found their feature back who can do it all on the field, goal line, between the tackles runner, outside runner, and passing threat out of the backfield, Swift can do it all. The second and last bright spot for this Detroit team was second year tight end TJ Hockenson. Hockenson started his NFL career in 2019 on fire but fizzled out quickly after the first two games. However, in 2020 Hockenson was one of the most consistent players at the position, which translated well in the fantasy game. Hockenson would finish 2020 as fantasy’s TE3 only behind Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and Las Vegas’s Darren Waller. Hockenson also finished the season ranked third among all tight ends in receiving yards. In terms of Hockenson’s 2020 consistency, we as owners are looking for that type of year out of our starting tight end. Hockenson was giving his owners 10-15 fantasy points per week as a floor, while mixing in those 20+ point upside games, which, outside of Kelce who is the tight end cheat code is rare to find at the tight end position.

What Needs to Improve in 2021?

This whole off-season so far for the Lions screams complete rebuild, which in my opinion is long overdue. With veteran QB Matthew Stafford being traded to the Rams for Jared Goff and a slew of picks, coupled with a new GM and Head Coach, the Lions are clearly ready to fully embrace this true rebuild. Therefore, in terms of improvements I can say the Lions knew that coaching and team leadership needed to improve, which they believe they have done. Another area they need to improve upon is the way they used their young star running back D’Andre Swift. Last season they mixed in veteran running back Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson more than many would have liked. With Anthony Lynn now in as the OC for the Lions, we can fully expect a true workhorse load coming for Swift. Lynn has recently come out to call Swift just that, a true every down back. Lynn as Chargers Head Coach over the last couple of seasons proved to be a very RB friendly coach, which should not be a surprise as he played the position himself in the NFL. I feel Swift will be relied upon a lot to carry the load in 2021, as the passing game with Goff will take a back seat in this Lynn run heavy attack. Jared Goff was barely relevant last season with many good receiving options around him, now he moves to an offense where their best receiver (Kenny Golladay) will likely be in a new uniform in 2021, it just does not sound like a fantasy prospect we need to be involved with. Next time I will dive into the Franchise Exit Report for the Carolina Panthers.