The Detroit Lions entered the 2018 NFL Draft with a need to improve the run game. Only time will tell how it all plays out, but the talent acquired is undeniable.
The Detroit Lions have built the foundation for a leap into the contending realm. It’s a bold claim, but it’s one that’s supported by the fact that Detroit has won at least nine games in three of the past four seasons.
Following the 2018 NFL Draft, the Lions appear to have acquired the necessary talent to make a return to the postseason and a push for sustained contending.
Detroit finished the 2017 season at 9-7, including a 6-3 record over the course of the final nine games. Matthew Stafford produced a superstar-caliber season, Marvin Jones and Golden Tate both eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards, and the defense improved over time.
One of the primary issues that the Lions encountered, however, was that they couldn’t establish the run—an issue first addressed in Round 1.
While it was perhaps the Lions’ most overlooked the selection, Detroit later took Oregon Ducks offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby in Round 5.
Just like that, the Lions built the foundation for an efficient and consistently effective rushing attack.
Ragnow ranked No. 1 amongst centers in this draft class in run-block success rate during the 2017 season. He also completed his entire collegiate career without allowing a single sack—an insane statistic and another layer of his appeal.
Not only is Ragnow a positionally versatile interior lineman, but he could provide elite value as both a run and pass blocker in 2017 and beyond.
As for Crosby, he ranked No. 7 in the country in run-block success rate in 2017—a compelling truth considering Oregon heavily emphasized the ground game.
With two potentially elite linemen who specialize in run blocking, Johnson should be able to thrive in 2018 and beyond. He won the SEC Player of the Year award in 2017, which is quite compelling considering he did so against the elite defenses in that conference.
Standing at 6’0″ and 213 pounds with explosive athleticism, a powerful stiff arm, and the elusiveness to make plays in the open field. He’s also made dramatic improvements as a receiver, as evidenced by his career-best 24 receptions for 194 yards and two touchdowns in 2017.
With Johnson and Theo Riddick, the Lions could realistically achieve a long-awaited balance on the ground in 2018.
With a vastly improved offensive line, Matthew Stafford could lead the Detroit Lions back to the Playoffs in 2018.