Detroit Lions Late August Scouting Report
QB: So far so good for QB Matthew Stafford. He has been solid in practice per all reports. They said he threw an interception the other day but he jokingly clarified that it was a free play because the defense jumped offside. With no preseason and missing the last 8 games in 2019, it could be a little concerning that he will be rusty stepping on the field in week 1. But he is a veteran and he should be able to handle this unusual season as well as anybody. If you are waiting until the middle rounds to draft a QB1, Stafford is definitely someone I would target. Just to recap the rest of the depth chart, QB Chase Daniel is set to be the backup, and QB David Blough is hoping to stick as the third quarterback. Daniel has been around the league forever, and Blough started games at the end of last season, so while they will be missing out on preseason action, the Lions probably feel OK with what they have.
RB: So far, we have learned that RB Kerryon Johnson is still wearing a brace on his right knee that he hurt last year. He wore it when he returned for the last couple games last year so he should be used to it. He says it’s for peace of mind. Rookie RB DeAndre Swift has created some buzz with his pass catching ability in practice. Some in the media were thinking he could play an Alvin Kamara type of role. Swift will be a great fit here, but I think that comparison is a little extreme, partly because I think we saw last year this offense isn’t designed for a lot of throws to the backs. Maybe the presence of Swift can change that, but Stafford wants to push the ball downfield in this offense, not check down. It seems I mentioned in the last report that the Lions had some running backs in for tryouts. They ended up signing RB Jonathan Williams. RB Wes Hills, who started one game last year when the position was depleted by injuries, was waived. Williams has been around a bit and flashed for a couple weeks with the Colts last year. If he continues to do well in camp he could beat out RB Bo Scarbrough for a roster spot. The other rookie RB Jason Huntley has had some ups and downs in camp. He should make the team but he would be a long shot to contribute.
WR/TE: Just to wrap up some COVID related news, TE TJ Hockenson and WR Kenny Golladay both confirmed that they had the virus which is why they spent some time on the reserve list earlier this month. Hockenson said he had no symptoms, Golladay said he had minor symptoms. Hockenson also made some headlines because he said something about how he still notices his injured ankle from last year. That’s a little concerning but I don’t envision him being limited. If anything, he has worked on his body going into year 2, and he remains a good sleeper pick at tight end who could very easily outperform his draft position. Golladay remains a rock solid pick in all fantasy formats, with WR Marvin Jones a nice mid to late round pick. The reporters are saying WR Danny Amendola still looks like he can get it done at age 34. He should only be drafted in large leagues; expect him to have a couple of random big weeks.
K/DST: This Lions defense is going to be a work in progress. There was more of a shakeup in the offseason on this side of the ball than there was on offense. By my count, you’re looking at 5 new starters, plus a few other newcomers who could see significant snaps. Of course many of the newcomers have experience with the Patriots which means they are familiar with the scheme. But I wouldn’t recommend drafting the Lions DST.
Next up for the Lions will be the cut to 53 and the regular season opener against the Bears.
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