Detroit Lions: Why plethora of offensive weapons may falter

Detroit Lions (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

Why the Detroit Lions offense might still struggle after adding new weapons to their arsenal.

The Detroit Lions placed an emphasis on their offense during the NFL Draft by selecting five offensive players in their first seven selections, including two running backs and a wide receiver. Despite the new (and returning) weapons on offense, it might still be their weakest link in the 2020 season.

Adding running back D’Andre Swift at the start of the second round was almost a luxury pick with running backs Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough on the roster. Then the team doubled down by selecting running back Jason Huntley later in the fifth round. Other than showing a backfield-by-committee hand for the ground game, there is more offensive talent returning for this season.

Tight end T.J. Hockenson and wide receiver Marvin Jones are both expected to be back healthy for the start of the 2020 campaign. The Lions also re-signed receiver Danny Amendola to keep their big three receivers together for another year. Add in a healthy quarterback in Matthew Stafford and the offense looks to be unstoppable.

Not so fast. The offensive line has a lot to say about this team’s success. While general manager Bob Quinn has been trying to solidify the trenches since coming to Detroit in 2016, this is where the offense could falter.

Who’s starting on Detroit’s offensive line?

Looking at the players most likely to start for the Detroit Lions on the offensive line, it starts in the middle with center Frank Ragnow. To his left, guard Joe Dahl is penciled in for now and then left tackle Taylor Decker. On the right is where we see some new faces starting with a rookie in guard Jonah Jackson followed by right tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, a big free-agent signing.

Now, this surely isn’t set in stone. It seems Decker, Ragnow and Vaitai are pretty stable in those positions, but the guards are up for debate. It could surely be the same two names, but maybe on different sides of the center. Or, another draft pick, guard Logan Stenberg, could work his way into the starting lineup.

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This position group is under the most pressure. A virtual offseason before the start of training camp doesn’t help. If they can’t get things sorted out and keep Stafford off his back or running for his life then it won’t matter if he’s got the most talented receiver in the NFC North or not.