The Detroit Lions fell victim to poor QB play and Matt Patricia in 2019. But with Stafford back and a reinvigorated offense featuring D’Andre Swift and Kenny Golladay, the Lions have some hope. If Matt Patricia and Matthew Stafford can hold the offense together the Lions may have a chance at having a few more wins this season. The real question is can they finally turn it around and come back to a winning record?
3 Position Battles To Watch:
Running Back: D’Andre Swift, Kerryon Johnson, Bo Scarbrough, Jason Huntley
In 2019 the Detroit Lions played running back as a committee through Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough. In the 2020 draft the lions selected 2 running backs in D’Andre Swift out of Georgia, and Jason Huntley out of New Mexico State. The Lions expect D’Andre Swift to perform and become their RB1, however, in 2019 Johnson had flashes of being a solid RB1. Swift and Johnson will have to compete for the starting running back position while Scarbrough will have to compete with Huntley to become the backup.
Guard: Kenny Wiggins, Oday Aboushi, Beau Benzschawel, Jonah Jackson, Logan Stenberg, Joe Dahl
In 2019 the Detroit Lions used a carousel of linemen to play at the guard position. With the resigning of Kenny Wiggins and Oday Aboushi, the position seems set. However, the Lions selected 2 solid guards in the 2020 Draft. Jonah Jackson was selected in the 3rd round and Logan Stenberg was selected the 4th. If the Lions want to succeed in 2020, they will need a solid O-line. This will force competition between the veterans and the rookies in the preseason, with an uncertain outcome.
Linebacker: Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones, Jahlani Tavai, Jamie Collins Sr., Reggie Ragland, Elijah Lee
With a few returning veterans, Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones and Jahlani Tavai, and some new faces, Jamie Collins Sr. Reggie Ragland and Elijah Lee, the linebacker room is pretty full. Due to poor play last year, all the linebackers are on even footing in the preseason. Each one will have to prove themselves in order to get the starting role. This will be an interesting competition that may leave some new faces leading the defense in 2020.
Ready To Break Out: T.J. Hockenson
In 2019 Hockenson had an amazing rookie debut with 131 yards on 6 catches and a TD. After that, however, he struggled to produce. This however was not his fault. With limited QB play and splitting play with TE Jesse James, Hockenson wasn’t given the opportunities he needed his rookie year. Couple that with an ankle injury halfway through the season, and it makes sense why he struggled to produce. But with Stafford back at QB, and fully health Hockenson could make a big mark on the Lion’s offense in 2020.
Rookie To Watch: D’Andre Swift
D’Andre Swift was selected with the Lion’s 2nd round pick in the 2020 draft. As the 2nd running back taken in the draft, Swift has a lot of expectations. In 2019 with Georgia Swift ran for 1200 yards and 7TDs averaging 6.2 yards per carry. He is expected to be the starter in 2020, but if he does not perform in the shortened preseason, the incumbent Kerryon Johnson may start while Swift gets used to the NFL.
Fantasy Sleeper: Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford has always been slept on because he was on the lions. However, this year he is falling even further in the draft due to his injury in 2019. If you look at Stafford’s stats in 2019 though, he was averaging over 300 yards and 2.5 TDs a game. There is plenty of risk that Stafford gets reinjured and is out for the season again, but he will be an excellent late-round starter if he remains healthy.