Detroit Lions February Scouting Report
Lions report, February 2021: Year in review and free agency preview
QB: 2020 fantasy leader QB Matthew Stafford 4084 passing yards, 26 TD, 10 INT
As you are probably already aware, Stafford requested a trade shortly after the end of the season. The Lions granted his request and have agreed on a trade with the Rams. Stafford will go to LA and the Lions will receive QB Jared Goff, a 3rd round pick in this year’s draft, plus LA’s 1st round picks in 2022 and 2023. I am a Stafford fan, but I don’t blame him for wanting out. Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia failed here and set the franchise back. Stafford didn’t want to go through another rebuild. I think most people are looking at Goff as more of a throw in as the Rams needed to unload his contract in the deal and the Lions took it knowing the two first round picks they received were the more valuable assets. But they will give Goff a chance to see if a change of scenery can reboot his career. The Lions will look to draft a quarterback of the future at some point, but now it doesn’t have to be this year. If they fall in love with Trey Lance, perhaps he could be the pick as he is likely to need a year on the bench. QB Chase Daniel was not impressive in limited action in 2020 but he is under contract and figures to be back in 2021. Mark Brunell joined the new staff as the quarterback coach.
RB: 2020 fantasy leaders RB D’Andre Swift 878 total yards, 10 total TD, RB Adrian Peterson 705 yards, 7 total TD, Kerryon Johnson 368 total yards, 3 total TD
Swift had a solid rookie year and will be one of the focal points of the offense in 2021. I was actually a little surprised when I checked the stats for this report to see that he reached double digits in touchdowns. New HC Dan Campbell is an old school type, and new OC Anthony Lynn is a former running back who has overseen some strong running games at previous stops. Swift is trending up heading into 2021. Peterson showed he can still play, but there wasn’t really anything special about his performance. He was on a one year deal and I don’t think he will draw much interest from the Lions or anyone else. Duce Staley is the new running backs coach.
WR/TE: 2020 fantasy leaders WR Marvin Jones 978 yards, 9 TD, TE TJ Hockenson 723 yards, 6 TD. WR Danny Amendola 602 yards, 0 TD, WR Quintez Cephus 349 yards , 2 TD, WR Kenny Golladay 338 yards, 2 TD.
Golladay is set to enter free agency after a season that was ruined by injuries. The Lions could still use the franchise tag on him, but that seems less likely now that they are embracing a full rebuilding project. I would put the odds at 50/50 that they tag him. Maybe a tag and trade could be on the table, who knows. Jones ended the season with a bang, blowing up for 180 yards and 2 TDs in week 17 against the Vikings. He is also a free agent and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he joined Stafford in LA as they have a close relationship and nice chemistry on the field. Amendola is also a free agent and won’t be back. Hockenson made the Pro Bowl, but we need to see if he has a higher ceiling. Cephus could be set for a bigger role in 2021, but the receiver group needs some reinforcements, especially considering WR Jamal Agnew and WR Mohamed Sanu are also free agents. Yes, some mock drafts have the Lions taking a receiver at 7. You would think they will want to give Goff a fair chance to succeed, and saddling him with a bare bones receiver group would set him up for failure. So taking a receiver at 7 is possible. Antwaan Randle El is the new receivers coach. I’m naming these new position coaches just to point out that they went heavy on former players in building the staff, and it’s fun to see some cool names from the recent past who were relevant in the fantasy football world.
D, K, ST: It’s going to take more than one offseason to repair this defense. They set franchise records for futility – most yards allowed, most points allowed. I believe they allowed the 4th most yardage in a season in NFL history. I think it was a little under the radar just how bad this unit was. Aaron Glenn is the new defensive coordinator and he will have his work cut out for him. Hopefully as a former defensive back, he can get CB Jeff Okudah back on track after a mess of a rookie year in 2020. If the Lions don’t tag Golladay, they could tag DE Romeo Okwara. There are eight other free agents from this defense, and LB Jarrad Davis is the only other notable one, and even that might be a stretch. PK Matt Prater is a free agent, and it’s not a lock that he returns. The Lions have to juggle Stafford’s dead money along with Goff’s contract, and with the cap expected to be lower in 2021, they could look to save a few bucks with a cheaper kicker. Prater wasn’t as sharp in 2020.
Home: CHI, GB, MIN, ARI, SF, BAL, CIN, PHI
Road: CHI, GB, MIN, LAR, SEA, CLE, PIT, ATL
The Lions along with the rest of the NFC North will play the NFC West and AFC North in 2021. If the season expands to 17 games, it appears the Lions would add a game with Denver. The road trip to LA now has some extra intrigue obviously.
The Lions will draft 7th in the first round of this year’s draft after going 5-11.
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