We’re still a long way from the start of the 2021 season, but lately I’ve been thinking about some of the purported strengths of the team in 2021:
- Receivers - Jahan Dotson, Parker Washington, Brenton Strange, Theo Johnson
- Running Backs - Noah Cain, Keyvone Lee, Caziah Holmes, John Lovett
- Secondary - Tariq Castro-Fields, Joey Porter Jr., Keaton Ellis, Jaquan Brisker, Johnny Dixon
Each of these groups should be good-to-great in 2021, given the combination of talent and experience they have.
But what areas of the team that are currently considered “questionable” do you think will ultimately end up a strength?
For me, there are two candidates: quarterback and defensive end
There’s no doubt that Mike Yurcich has a tough task on his hands: take a struggling QB room and turn them into dangerous weapons. Shoot, I’d settle for “not a liability” at this point, but I actually think the QBs could end up being quite good. That is to say, I think Sean Clifford could end up being quite good. In 2019, with a normal off-season under his belt, he put up a very good statistical season, and the Lions ended the year 11-2. I’d like to think that he can return to form in 2021.
And while the hope is that Ta’Quan Roberson and Christian Veilleux won’t need to see significant snaps, I also think they bring unique skillsets that can flourish in Yurcich’s offense if needed.
Going into spring, the DE depth chart was rather sparse. It’s still a bit thin for my liking, but the current crop of DEs includes Adisa Isaac and Nick Tarburton (your starters in my opinion), Arnold Ebiketie, Smith Vilbert, Zuriah Fisher, and Rodney McGraw. That’s actually a pretty good crop of DEs, if a bit lightweight and a bit inexperienced. But a lot of talent at the two end positions.
Then there some interesting hybrid players that could end up seeing some time at DE in Jesse Luketa (currently a linebacker) and Hakeem Beamon (currently a DT). Those two would bring vastly different skillsets to the position, with Luketa being a stand-up pass rush specialist, and Beamon being a hand-in-the-dirt run stopper.
In any case, I think both of these positions have a chance to go from “so-so” to quite good in 2021, what do you think?