2021 NFC North preview: How do the Detroit Lions stack up?

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell (Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell (Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press) /
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D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions
D’Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions Offense, Part II

Running back D’Andre Swift, in his second year, is expected to bloom as a true three-down player due to his receiving ability and the offense’s use of passing to its runners. Jamaal Williams gives Lynn a second capable runner, while rookie Jermar Jefferson or Dedrick Mills could be the third option, if they don’t go out and find someone else. Former linebacker, Jason Cabinda, has served as the fullback after the position change last year and done well when called upon, mostly as a blocker.

We would say that with Swift’s potential and Williams ability, plus a running back-friendly system, we’d say that the Lions runners lack an established star but are in as good of a position as Chicago, with Green Bay, and Minnesota not far ahead.

The real strength of the Detroit Lions offense, though, is the line which returns Taylor Decker, Frank Ragnow, Jonah Jackson, Tyrell Crosby, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and added Penei Sewell through the draft. The depth is thin after Crosby being the sixth lineman and swing tackle, again.

Matt Nelson who has had some good moments, Logan Stenberg, undrafted rookie guard Tommy Kraemer, and Dan Skipper are among the names being considered to serve as reserves. The depth isn’t amazing but should be adequate, while the starters plus Crosby are better than the top-six of any rival.

Punter Jack Fox, and either Randy Bullock or Matthew Wright will be the kickers, with Don Muhlbach back to reprise his role as long (in the tooth) snapper. Letting Matt Prater go is another sign of the fresh start the regime is looking for in Detroit. The kicking game could suffer some, although 2020 wasn’t a great year for Prater, regardless.