Are the new Detroit Lions content to tank in 2021?

Detroit Lions fans (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions fans (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions fan (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Don’t mind tanking?

The Lions seem to be relying heavily on their new coaching staff to “coach up” the players they already have. They are banking on the development of their younger, unproven stars like cornerback Jeff Okudah and running back D’Andre Swift to step up and take on major roles in their second season.

Sure, the Lions want to win now. Who doesn’t? But the moves (or lack thereof) of the new regime seem to indicate that they don’t mind tanking the season either.

Those now leading the charge in Motown have made it clear they are planning for future success in the Motor City, doubling up on first-round draft picks in 2022 and 2023. But it seems just as clear that winning this season has likely taken a backseat to that plan.

It’s starting to sound eerily similar to when the previous regime began to install their “culture change” in Detroit back in 2018. And while that group was busy planning on how to bring in more ex-New England Patriots into the fold, they forgot how to win football games along the way.

The lack of effort to upgrade the current roster in Detroit so far is disconcerting. And while some may applaud the new regime’s restraint in refusing to overpay for overpriced talent, the overall talent level across their depth chart has undoubtedly taken a nosedive. And one this year’s NFL Draft alone will not help them recover from.

With the first wave of free agency now over, the Lions have missed their window to significantly upgrade several of their various positions of needs. While some will point to the current salary cap situation and fiscal responsibility as the reasons why, there are plenty of other NFL teams in a far worst position than Detroit upgrading their rosters with talented free agents. The Lions have simply elected not to do so.

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While it’s far too early to ditch the “trust the process” mentality, it’s also difficult to see the Detroit Lions fielding a better roster than they did last season based on their actions so far. Perhaps this group will quickly rebound, dig up a free agent gem or two, and land one of the best draft classes in NFL history. But it seems the Lions are much more likely to land the top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft than to eclipse their 5-11 record from last season.