The best case and worst case scenarios for the 2017 Detroit Lions at three key positions, including left tackle, wide receiver, and middle linebacker.
There are tons of questions surrounding this year’s Detroit Lions.
So let’s take a look at a couple of positions where there are some of those questions with a best case/worst case outcome.
Position 1: Middle Linebacker
The Lions drafted linebacker Jarrad Davis from Florida in order to bolster the middle of the defense, where they floundered for much of last season. Tahir Whitehead struggled to cover running backs and tight ends early in the season before defensive coordinator Teryl Austin adjusted and played an extra safety on passing downs much of the year.
Davis adds speed and coverage ability, which should help take away, or at least reduce, the effect of underneath throws. Adding a rookie at a key position always comes with some risk. Will the youngster live up to expectations early or will he struggle with the game at the NFL level? Time will tell. But let’s speculate…
Best Case: Davis plays beyond expectation
If the defense comes together like it did last year, Davis is responsible for anything short on passing downs and plays like the Tasmanian Devil, blanketing running backs and preventing teams from moving the chains on third and short.
This gets the defense off the field when it matters, something the team was unable to do last season. The Lions now dominate time of possession, and earn a winning record by keeping the ball away from the likes of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. This team makes the playoffs, but just barely.
Worst Case: Davis shows his youth and plays mistake-filled football
If Davis doesn’t adjust to the NFL and being an every-down player, the Lions will have to rely on the back end of the defense again, playing an extra safety in the box. Teams will start to pound the ball against the now-undersized front seven.
The Lions are forced to play from behind every game, exposing quarterback Matthew Stafford to big hits as every down is a passing down. Detroit cannot replicate their late game magic from last year and now own a top-10 draft pick.