Detroit Lions Early August Scouting Report
With one preseason game in the books (a 24-10 win over the Colts) let’s talk about some things that we have seen and heard so far.
QB: Nothing terribly interesting for fantasy purposes with QB Matthew Stafford. There is still no word on a contract extension, and the sides are said to be far apart. We’ll see if something gets done by week 1. If not, this will be revisited in the offseason and the franchise tag would be in play. Stafford revealed he worked with a private quarterback tutor in the offseason but I don’t think anyone believes this is going to radically change the way Stafford plays. He played one series against the Colts and went 2 of 3 for 36 yards and an interception. The pick was a throw that hit the receiver’s hands but got batted high up in the air. QB Jake Rudock appears to be far ahead of rookie QB Brad Kaaya for the backup job. Rudock had a strong game against the Colts going 13 of 21 for 142 yards and 2 TD passes, and he also showed good pocket awareness and gained 24 yards on 2 scrambles. Kaaya finished up and did OK but it will be a numbers game when it comes down to keeping a third quarterback on the 53 man roster.
RB: Much like Stafford, we saw a brief appearance by RB Ameer Abdullah and it wasn’t enough to draw any huge conclusions. All I would say for now is that he is healthy and he is going to be the leader of this committee. Don’t overreact and drop him in the rankings just because there was a report from Lions practice that RB Zach Zenner was getting goal line carries. Unless you play in an archaic TD only league Abdullah is the guy you want. Plus the Lions don’t run much near the goal line anyway. They are just as likely to use one of their smaller backs in the passing game matched up with a linebacker near the goal line. RB Theo Riddick (wrists) passed his physical and did not spend any time on the PUP list. And believe me, the Lions love to start guys out on the PUP list for the slightest reason. He is wearing a red jersey in practice and did not play against the Colts but these are precautions. Zenner had a nice 19 yard run and Washington looked OK at times. RB Matt Asiata is not going to inspire anyone with 5 carries for 6 yards.
WR/TE: The biggest story coming out of the game with the Colts was Detroit’s third round rookie WR Kenny Golladay scoring not one but two TDs. He has reportedly looked good in camp and even got an endorsement from Chad Ochocinco of all people. It’s probably something for dynasty leaguers to be more interested in, but redraft leagues will take notice as well. I want to see more before I look at Golladay as a guy that could duplicate what Anquan Boldin did last year but he is trending up that’s for sure. He is big and his TD grabs showed some ability to attack the football and outfight defenders. He will be a nice outside threat with his 6’4 height but this was against the Colts second string defense. The other rookie to look at is 4th round TE Michael Roberts but he still has some work to do. He had one drop and later had a catch where the ball got stripped but a fortunate forward progress ruling saved a turnover. As for the veterans, one thing worth noting is that TE Eric Ebron got hurt (hamstring) on the first day of camp and sat out against Indianapolis but is making good progress. Unfortunately he seems like he is constantly banged up. WR Marvin Jones wasn’t quite ready for a Stafford fastball and it went through his hands and got deflected for an interception.
K/DST: There was a rare long field goal missed by PK Matt Prater, from 53 yards. He looked like he didn’t get all of it. I wouldn’t be worried at all. The defense took a hit with starting DE Kerry Hyder appearing to suffer a season ending Achilles injury. DE Ziggy Ansah is still on the PUP list so the defensive end depth chart is in a little bit of chaos right now, and this is a team that struggled to put pressure on quarterbacks last year. I know in some IDP leagues you can get points from defensive linemen who bat down passes. If that’s the case, get DT A’Shawn Robinson and you won’t regret it. But as a unit I still think the Lions defense belongs on the waiver wire.
Next up for the Lions are games on the 19th against the Jets, and then the 25th against the Patriots. I will have more on these games in my next report later this month.
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