How much better is the Detroit Lions roster on offense?

Detroit Lions (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /
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Frank Ragnow, Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow (77) (Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Lions have just come out of what was seen by many pundits as a successful draft and offseason. What we need to do is to take a step back and see how things look from a big picture perspective. The Lions’ new offensive coordinator, Anthony Lynn, brings a run-focused approach and we are going to analyze how the roster fits head coach Dan Campbell’s and Lynn’s visions for the team.

In a separate article (linked below), we discussed the defense but the offense is set to take on some huge changes, as well. The Lions offense ranked 20th, according to Pro Football Reference’s website in 2020, with the passing game being ranked 10th. Of course, the biggest adjustment comes from underneath of center, where Jared Goff will take over for the departed Matthew Stafford at quarterback.

What is leftover from the offensive side of the ball are a few key players, center Frank Ragnow, left tackle Taylor Decker, tight end TJ Hockenson, and former rookie runner, D’Andre Swift. They, along with Goff, will comprise the nucleus of the Lions offense.

How did the draft help the Detroit Lions roster?

The draft saw new general manager Brad Holmes select highly-touted offensive tackle, Penei Sewell with the first-round pick of the 2021 draft and not a receiver as many predicted. With his arrival, the Detroit Lions find themselves in a new position during recent history-possessing a young, talented line. The draft day victory celebrations in the war room hopefully portend good things for the unit.

Draftees Penei Sewell (Round 1) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (Round 4) should also factor into the picture as building blocks for the future on offense; particularly, Sewell gives the Lions three very solid anchors for their line, with left tackle Taylor Decker and center Frank Ragnow. Guard Jonah Jackson is also improving, leaving just one spot along the front (right guard) to be decided.

St. Brown, the receiver that the Lions brain trust did finally select in Round 4, is a YAC-creating weapon that should be able to be moved around but will for sure give the Lions a reliable slot option. He can do some of everything and needs touches out in space; that is an important factor for the kind of balanced attack that Anthony Lynn usually aims for.

Yards-after-contact (YAC) refers to how far a player gets after he is first contacted by the opposing defense and it is a measure of elusiveness or power for an offensive player to keep gaining yards.

Let’s take a look at how the rest of the offense is stacking up to run Lynn’s offense, which is predicated on a zone-blocking run scheme.