Will the Detroit Lions really get defensive with their top draft pick?
By Robert Jones
As we all anticipated the start of the Matt Patricia era, it was a foregone conclusion that the Lions offense, given a ground game and a defense that could win in the playoffs, was certainly potent enough through the air to make this a contender.
Oh, how times have changed.
Despite the additions of guard Frank Ragnow and running back Kerryon Johnson, which were expected to fill in the holes and allow this offense to fully blossom, it just hasn’t happened.
Much of the blame has been aimed at offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. At no point has it seemed like he has maximized the talent he had to work with, at least when there was talent before trades and injuries.
The offense has been predictable and mediocre.
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Now, ironically, all it has to show for itself is a little bit of a ground game by committee, since Johnson has been injured, and nothing more.
Matthew Stafford has suffered through possibly his worst season when you consider he has ten years of experience on the job, Golden Tate was shipped out of town when he refused to sign the Lions’ contract extension they offered him and now Marvin Jones and tight end Michael Roberts are on injured reserve,
Quite frankly it looks like the Lions offense may have to finish the season running the ‘single T’ formation from back in the games prehistoric beginnings since they don’t seem to have enough players outside of Kenny Golladay with any talent to simulate any kind of modern-day passing attack. Much less Stafford’s ineffectiveness, whether it’s just regression or simply playing through his back injury.
But one way or another, the question now can be legitimately asked; with the offense in the state of flux it is, should the Lions use their first pick in the draft on offense?
Admittedly, the foregone conclusion of it being a defensive pick is no longer as clear. Think about it, sure Marvin Jones will be back next fall as well as Micheal Roberts and Kerryon Johnson, but right guard T.J. Lang will most likely either retire or be let go and need to be replaced and the Lions have proven that there is certainly need for another receiver, not to mention the fact that the tight end position has basically been invisible this year.
The argument can be made very clearly for the Lions top pick to be used on either side of the ball. Remember that this past spring it was thought to be a no-brainer the Lions were going to select a defensive lineman or edge rusher.
Surprise! The defensive lineman came in the fourth round in the form of Da’Shawn Hand and quite frankly it was a steal.
However, I think we have reached a point that all options will be open come April, and the better the defense plays down the stretch the more it plays into the possibility of putting an emphasis on the offense again.
Let’s be honest, the Lions have a full load of picks for the 2019 draft and they will need them all to be astute selections that can come in and contribute if this team is seriously interested in turning their fortunes around.
That’s not even including the dire need for an offensive coordinator who can bring an innovative and diverse system that will get the most out of these players.
Sure we’re at the same old point of counting down to the end of another disappointing season of Detroit Lions football, but as we watch these last three games, everything we thought we knew about what the Lions will do come April, might now just go out the window.