Pro Football Focus is buying into re-do of Lions' secondary rebuild

The Lions took a second run at remodeling their secondary this offseason, and Pro Football Focus is buying in to the re-do.

In the 2023 offseason, the Detroit Lions refurbished their secondary in free agency (Cameron Sutton, Emmanuel Moseley, C.J. Gardner-Johnson) and the draft (Brian Branch). Other than Branch, with injuries taking Gardner-Johnson and Moseley out of the equation and Sutton being awful most of the time last season, it did not work out.

So general manager Brad Holmes took another run at fixing the pass defense this offseason, adding four cornerbacks between a trade (Carlton Davis), free agency (Amik Robertson) and the draft (Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw). Add those guys to Branch and safeties Kerby Joseph and Ifeatu Melifonwu, and the Lions have the pieces of what could be a very good secondary.

It's safe to say Pro Football Focus did not buy into the Lions' secondary overhaul in 2023, ranking the until 22nd in the league with questions about the unit coming together well.

Those same kind of questions are easy to offer this year with the Lions' secondary. How will all the new pieces come together? Will Branch be excellent again, even if he plays safety more? Can Melifonwu do what he did late last year over a full season?

PFF is buying into the Lions' secondary overhaul, part 2

PFF is out with their rankings of NFL secondaries for this year. The Lions sit at No. 11, quite a jump from a year ago.

"The Lions have completely rebuilt their secondary in the hope that the new pieces will help develop the group into a top unit. Safety Ifeatu Melifonwu was the ninth-highest-graded safety in 2023, whileBrian Branch posted a 78.9 overall grade in his excellent rookie season. The team added cornerbacks Amik Robertson and Carlton Davis this offseason and picked up Terrion Arnold and Ennis Rakestraw .in the first two rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft. The speed at which this unit can mesh together will determine its effectiveness in 2024."

The Lions' secondary having to mesh, and ideally doing so quickly, is an obvious important note for this season. The difference for PFF in their preseason secondary rankings from 2023 to this year appears clear. Branch is now a known quantity, which he wasn't before taking a meaningful game snap in the NFL, and the the Lions secondary is notably deeper.

Time will fully tell if the Lions got their secondary overhaul right this time. But it's easy to think they did right now, and Pro Football Focus is on the bandwagon of believers.


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