Detroit Lions' rise in talent level reflected by deeper athleticism metric

The Detroit Lions have done good work adding talent in the draft lately, and their rise in a deeper metric reflects that nicely.
Kimberly P. Mitchell / USA TODAY NETWORK

In three drafts, Brad Holmes made the Detroit Lions' roster into that of an NFC Championship Game participant. Rebuilds can be done quickly in the NFL when the right leadership is in place, but Holmes' work in the draft is pretty much unrivaled among his peers lately. This year's draft class may only build on that once those incoming rookies have an NFL resume to review.

In back-to-back draft classes, 2022 and 2023, the Lions got high marks for the athleticism of the players they added. Based on Relative Athletic Score (RAS), they had the second-most athletic draft class in the league in 2022 (Aidan Hutchinson, et al).

While good athleticism scores are not a be-all, end-all when evaluating incoming players, it's definitely better than the alternative-drafting prospects who are slow, can't jump and in general don't move well. Let's add fast and athletic guys when possible, and Holmes has done that across a lot of positions in the draft.

Lions talent level paralleled by rise in RAS

The man who created Relative Athletic Score, Kent Lee Platte, recently ranked all 32 NFL rosters for 2024 by overall athleticism as reflected by the metric he created.

The Lions came in at No. 12, with a note from Platte about the recent dramatic rise in the roster's athletic score.

"12. Detroit
Avg #RAS 7.5

The overall athleticism of the Lions roster has been growing by pretty big leaps since 2020.

They went from a very low ranked 6.56 in 2019 to 6.7 in 2021, 6.92, 7.29, and now 7.5. Nearly a full point jump on average and they're still improving."

Holmes has pretty quickly built one of the best rosters in the NFL, and the Lions look like they'll stick around as one of the top teams in the NFC and a Super Bowl contender for awhile. That the rise in the talent level on the roster is paralleled by a drastic rise in the athleticism of the players is not a coincidence, or a surprise. And, as Platte noted, there's room for more improvement.


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