The current regime in the Motor City must make the 3-12-1 Detroit Lions a playoff contender. And one NFL legend believes they can bounce back in 2020.
With the NFL playoffs in full swing and the Detroit Lions once again watching from home, Motown fans only have next season to look forward to. The fact the Lions own the third overall selection in April’s NFL draft should at least make the next few months interesting.
But first, Detroit will have some free agency decisions to make. Firstly, about some of their own players scheduled to hit the open market. Names like defensive tackle Mike Daniels, wide receiver Danny Amendola, and guard Graham Glasgow will have their fates decided.
Last offseason, the Lions made some major signings in free agency landing players like defensive end Trey Flowers and cornerback Justin Coleman. Will Detroit make similar moves in 2020 with everything on the line for general manager Bob Quinn and third-year head coach Matt Patricia?
Some possible big-time NFL free agents to watch include running back Melvin Gordon, wide receiver Amari Cooper, guard Brandon Scherff, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, and cornerback Chris Harris.
On top of any potential free-agent additions, the Lions are set up to have a terrific 2020 draft class. Detroit hasn’t selected this high since 2010 when they drafted Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh with the second overall pick.
Throw in another offseason training program for players to learn Patricia’s defensive scheme plus a second year under offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and the arrow should be pointing up for the Lions heading into the regular season. Of course, many of us had similar feelings about this squad last year.
Still, there are reasons for optimism. Here’s what recent Hall of Famer and longtime executive for the Dallas Cowboys turned NFL.com Senior Media Analyst Gil Brandt wrote on the league’s official website about the Lions being a worst-to-first candidate in 2020.
"“The Lions have the No. 3 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and ownership seems to feel strongly that the duo of coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn can get this team to play ‘meaningful’ football next season. The key will be establishing a strong ground game and beefed-up defense around a healthy Stafford.”"
Unfortunately, it’s going to take more than speculation, another splash of expensive free agents, and a talented group of rookies to prove the Detroit Lions can become playoff relevant under its current regime. But entering Year Three of the Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia era in the Motor City, it appears to be playoffs or bust for the New England Patriots-Midwest experiment in 2020.