D’Andre swift is the key for the lion’s playoff chances

By: Chris Thomas

After the third disappointing season in a row under head coach Matt Patricia’s administration, the Detroit Lions have blown up their organization. They started their offseason by hiring Los Angeles Rams Director of Scouting Brad Holmes as their new general manager. Then Detroit made an unorthodox hire at head coach in former Miami Dolphins interm head coach and New Orleans Saints tight end coach Dan Campbell. But the largest change to the Lions that occurred this offseason happened at the quarterback position. The Lions executed a blockbuster trading 12 year starter Matthew Stafford to the Rams for 2016 1st overall pick Jared Goff, a 2022 first round pick, and a 2023 first round pick. This gave Detroit the ammunition they need to complete what appears to be a long-term rebuild.

Expectations are not super high for Lions in 2022 since they have made it clear they are trying to build their roster towards the future, but after a fantastic draft adding some great foundational pieces the Lions may be able to shock some teams an win some close games down the stretch. The key for the Lions season in 2021-22 is running back D’Andre Swift.

Last offseason the Lions selected Georgia running back D’Andre Swift with the 35th pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Many viewed Swift to be the top running back of the class, but he fell to the second round and was the second running back taken that year. When Swift got on the field he showed why he was RB1 on many peoples draft boards. During the 13 games he played during the 2020-21 season, Swift had 114 rushing attempts for 521 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had 46 catches for 357 yards and two more touchdowns. Those numbers may not look fantastic, but when Swift got double digit carries during a game he averaged 71.2 yards rushing yards per game which would have been good for tenth in the NFL a season ago between David Montgomery and Josh Jacobs.

Head Coach Dan Campbell has already publicly said that he and the teams coaching staff has a lot of confidence building their offense around Swift. He also said he could have the potential of receiving “25 carries per game”.

There have been multiple context clues that the Lion’s have shown through other transactions this offseason that have shown that Swift could be the focal point of not only their offense, but their entire team. For starters they added both Anthony Lynn and Duce Staley to their coaching staff. Both are are former NFL running backs who have prioritized running backs during their coaching career.

New Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn has gotten great production out of the running backs he has coached over the years. During his time in Buffalo as the Assistant coach and running backs coach he got three Pro Bowl seasons out of LeSean McCoy. When he was the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers he got two outstanding statistical seasons out of Melvin Gordon and developed Austin Ekeler from undrafted free agent to a dangerous NFL starting running back.

Duce Staley has become one of the most respected running back coaches in the NFL. He returns to that role in Detroit and is also the Assistant Head Coach. He has gotten the opportunity to work with some great veteran backs in Philadelphia including LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, DeMarco Murray, Ryan Matthews, LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, and many more.

The trade for Jared Goff also is a sign that the passing game may take a backseat this next season. Despite being a two time Pro Bowler, Goff has been more of a distributor than playmaker over his career. He only plays at his best when he has great pieces around him, including a dominant running game. His past two seasons in Los Angeles where the running game was not headline the Rams offense got the organization thinking that he may not be the teams long term answer at the position, especially since they are in win-now mode. Goff is a perfect quarterback for the Lions because he is a 26 year old former first overall pick who has shown potential to play at a high level, but can be easily moved off of after this season.

Detroit’s draft and free agent transactions were also very telling on what they prioritized offensively. During free agency Detroit shockingly let former Pro Bowl wide receiver Kenny Golladay and their leading receiver from the season prior Marvin Jones Jr. hit the market and sign with other teams. The Lions replaced them with veteran receivers Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman who are veterans who can stretch the field but may be more equipped to be a teams third option in the passing game. Instead they chose to extend former first round pick offensive lineman left tackle Taylor Decker and center Frank Ragnow. During the draft Detroit elected to take Oregon tackle Penei Sewell with the seventh overall pick over Heisman winner Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith. The Lions didn’t take a wide receiver until they took Amon-Ra St.Brown in the fourth round. St. Brown has the upside to be a very solid wide receiver at the next level, but was not looked at a potential primary target in an NFL passing game.

By prioritizing the offensive line over pass catchers throughout the offseason it shows that they want to give running back D’Andre Swift every opportunity to not only succeed but to make an impact on every play. Nothing shows more of a “bite your kneecap off” mentality on offense than a strong running game. It is expected that Swift is the focal point of the Lions offense and the entire team because by if Swift can control the clock late in games it will help the Lions young defense stay off the field and keep opposing teams from scoring on them.

the Chicago Bears are top NFC Super Bowl Sleepers in 2021

In the blink of an eye, the Chicago Bears have flipped their chances in 2021, and not just because they landed QB Justin Fields.

A few short months ago I was writing articles about general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy’s impending firings, so I understand as well as anyone that a Chicago Bears Super Bowl run sounds a bit farfetched right now, but NFL franchises often flip the script overnight in this league and it can all start with one move.

Now I know I just finished saying that Chicago’s chances aren’t reliant on Fields’ immediate stardom, and they’re not, but his potential as a generational quarterback talent is certainly the conductor of the hype train.

Truth is, I have been against this regime for quite some time. The trade up for the unproven Mitchell Trubisky, the horrid playcalling by Nagy that seemed to stunt the growth of not only Trubisky but running back David Montgomery, the indecision at QB and the miserable ideas to bring in Nick Foles and Andy Dalton as “saviors” when every NFL fan under the sun knows that these veterans are no more than underwhelming game managers. Yes, I know Foles won a Super Bowl, but that Philadelphia Eagles roster was built like a tank and this Bears one is not.

It’s been a tough road for Bears fans ever since Vic Fangio’s defense (led by Khalil Mack) shattered expectations in 2018. Not tough like 1-15 record tough, but more “what could have been” tough. The knowledge that your putrid offense is holding back and possibly wasting a championship caliber defense is difficult to stomach (especially when you traded a ton of your future draft capital for the catalyst of that unit in Mack).

This defense has a window, and that window is closing fast. Mack is under contract till 2025, but his cap hit is exorbitant after 2021 (unless Chicago takes the potential out next offseason at a $24 million dollar hit). That 2018 group has already seen losses like Fangio (DC), Kyle Fuller (CB1), Adrian Amos (S), Prince Amukamara (CB2, age caught up fast here), Bryce Callahan (slot), Leonard Floyd (edge) and more. Mack’s departure could be the final nail in the coffin, sealing that window for good.

The emergence of a unique prospect like Fields at QB gives Chicago a shot in 2021, but there are a few other factors that have a Jets fan like me all aboard the Bears bandwagon.

1. NFC in Decline

With Drew Brees retiring, the NFC East in total dissarray, Aaron Rodgers wanting out of Green Bay, and the NFC West all beating up on eachother, there aren’t many Super Bowl favorites in the NFC outside of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In what has become a conference shift in strength, we now see a lot of the bright young quarterbacks in the AFC (Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson should he return to Houston) while the NFC is left wanting.

An Aaron Rodgers trade to a franchise like the Denver Broncos could totally blow the doors off this conversation. Not only that, it would leave a gaping hole in the NFC North with the Detroit Lions rebuilding and the Minnesota Vikings as a playoff bubble team at best. The Green Bay Packers are one of the NFC’s (and Bears’) strongest competitors left, and if there’s any truth to the rumors, that Cheesehead locomotive may have already flown off the tracks.

2. Phenomenal ’21 Draft

We all know about the Justin Fields selection, but the Bears 2021 draft went much further than that. Pace was drafting like his job was on the line and he answered the bell with some really solid picks.

Just after trading up to get the franchise QB, Pace was able to nab the left tackle to pair with him for years to come, in Teven Jenkins. Many thought the Oklahoma State Cowboys 6’6″ tackle would go in the first, but he slipped to day two and the Bears did not hesitate. Later on he bulked the offensive line again, drafting upside guard prospect Larry Borom out of Missouri.

One trouble area may be cornerback with Fuller gone, but sixth rounder Thomas Graham Jr. had sleeper grades from many analysts out of Oregon. The former Duck could help fill the void, but Chicago will also need something from 2020 second rounder Jaylon Johnson (just turned 22 in April), and free agent flier Desmond Trufant.

3. Key Vets Returning After 2020 Season

I wasn’t particularly high on the 2020 Bears defense, in part because I knew the offense would struggle, but also because some instrumental pieces were missing.

One major cog to account for was nose tackle Eddie Goldman, a 2020 COVID opt-out. Goldman had 40-plus tackles in 2017 and ’18 as one of the premier run-stuffers in the game. 2021 is only his age-27 season, so Chicago will count on the DT to return with avengeance after a year on the pine.

Alongside Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, this unit is still very formidable up front. The linebacker core also flaunts Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan in the middle, with free safety Eddie Jackson over the top. LB Christian Jones joins this crew, and they’ll also look to re-sign or replace strong safety Tash Gipson before preseason begins. Gipson started all 16 games with the Bears a season ago, and is currently an unrestricted free agent.

Let’s not forget the offensive side of the ball, as Pace held onto wide receiver Allen Robinson for dear life. New faces like Damien Williams, Damiere Byrd, Dazz Newsome, Khalil Herbert and Marquise Goodwin add some versatility to a group that needs to get more creative behind Fields and Nagy.

This defense may be slightly diminished from 2018, but it’s still pretty darn good, and this offense could theoretically become much more dynamic with a quarterback like Fields at the helm. Am I slightly worried that Nagy may just be a terrible coach? Absolutely. This is a make or break season for the HC though, so I expect him to pull out all the stops.

At the very least, I see the Bears as a playoff team again in 2021, but at +4800 odds right now on FanDuel Sportsbook, Chicago may just be the biggest sleeper pick to win Super Bowl LVI.

Landing Spots for All 5 of the Top QB Prospects

Who will Lawrence, Wilson, Fields, Lance and Jones play for in 2021?

by Michael Obermuller

The lead-up to the NFL Draft is a sports process like no other. The speculation, the intrigue, the misinformation and strategy used by different franchises and general managers. Considering the diverse crop of quarterback talent available in 2021, this offseason has been as wild as ever. I mean, just look at this curveball from Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer a few days before draft night.

Trevor Lawrence has been the consensus number one pick for what feels like years, and Jags owner Shad Khan has seemed pretty intent on marketing the rebirth of the franchise around the Clemson star, so why then is Meyer still choosing between three players at No. 1 overall?

It could just be due diligence from a first year NFL head coach, or maybe Lawrence to Jacksonville isn’t as much of a lock as most people thought. After all, there is certainly no reason to play mind-games with opposing GM’s when you’re the one picking first. Yet here we are left with this mysterious quote.

Don’t you worry though, I’ve seen through all the GM mumbo jumbo of the past few months and I’m confident in saying that I have figured out where each quarterback will end up — I think. Either way, I’ll give it a whirl, starting with the aforementioned Jaguars.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars: Trevor Lawrence (No. 1)

I know, after all that in the introduction, I’m still predicting T-Law to DUVAL? That’s right, because if Meyer wants to pull off the most shocking move in recent draft memory, he can do it without my blessing. There are a couple important things to note here though. One, Meyer is not considering Mac Jones or Trey Lance in the top spot. Could this have an influence on other franchises behind him? Urban was a premier college recruiter for a long time after all. Or perhaps he has yet to gain the respect of his fellow NFL peers, and his opinion means very little to them. Two, the former Ohio State HC and program director is likely passing on his former QB, Justin Fields. Meyer actually ranked the quarterbacks in a preseason show in June of 2020, with Lawrence first in his ranks and Fields second. His reasoning at the time was this;

[Lawrence] played one more year. That was it. The one thing I’ll say about Justin Fields because I’m very close to the situation, any concerns about him being a throwing quarterback are gone now. He’s developed, he’s outstanding.

– Urban Meyer, FOX College Football

The Jags could certainly throw a wrench in the entire draft by taking either Zach Wilson or Fields, which would probably send Lawrence to New York at No. 2, but it’s highly unlikely and I’m not buying it. Size, accuracy, speed, raw ability, intelligence, drive — Lawrence is the consensus number one for a reason. I’m not saying that he’s guaranteed to be the most successful NFL product, he’s not, but he is the safe bet for Jacksonville. For the sake of all our sanities, let’s move on and assume this sticks.

2. New York Jets: Zach Wilson (No. 2)

GM Joe Douglas and the New York Jets have traded 2018 first round pick Sam Darnold, so yes they are 100 percent taking a quarterback at two (for those who haven’t been paying attention). They have been linked to the BYU Cougars signal-caller more and more since Week 17, and I personally don’t see this changing on Thursday night. Wilson checks all the boxes for the Jets. He is an accurate passer and a competitive winner (albeit against lesser competition), known for his on-the-fly decision-making and pocket presence as well as an arm that throws just as far on the move as it does standing upright. Wilson has drawn recent comparisons to Patrick Mahomes for some of these intangible traits, but there’s a contingent of fans that still have doubts that scouts and GM’s are once again sleeping on in-your-face talent.

If Fields can translate his OSU skillset to the pros, it wouldn’t be the first time that the best and brightest NFL minds in the game are totally wrong. I mean he did run a 4.44 forty with a 70.2 completion percentage in 2020. For the record, as you’ll see throughout this article, Fields is my personal QB1 in this class, but that doesn’t mean he appeals to the teams picking in the top three.

3. San Francisco 49ers: Mac Jones (No. 3)

Is the infamous “smokescreen tactic” being utilized by Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch and the San Francisco 49ers? It’s quite possible, in fact Joe Douglas and the Jets could be using it too for all we know. If Fields truly is the quarterback with the most upside potential, it would make sense that every GM behind the Jaguars is trying to keep Meyer off their trail by talking up Wilson, Jones and Lance. At the same time, it seems even more likely that the NFL brass are once again scared off by an Ohio State product who has been labeled as a runner that struggles with his progressional reads. If Lawrence and Wilson do indeed go one-two, Fields should be the pick at three in my opinion, but he may not be according to reports.

There’s something fishy about this developing story, because Jones and Lance couldn’t be more different as prospects. I can’t deny that Mac Jones makes sense as Shanahan’s favorite option. The Niners HC has highlighted his on-field and NFL-ready intelligence, citing that the Alabama product is the win-now choice for a team that was in the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Jones is also the most similar to the quarterbacks that have flourished in Shanahan’s system in the past (Matt Ryan, Jimmy Garoppolo). Lance on the other hand makes me scratch my head. He’s from a small program that did not play against NFL-type talent, he’s not game-ready by most estimations, and he’s athletic rather than accurate or experienced. The fact that San Francisco is torn between these two, but not interested in the player that is pretty much the combination of both (Fields) is odd to say the least. For these reasons, I do think there’s a chance that the 49ers are under-selling Fields on purpose, but I’ll begrudgingly stick with Jones here anyway because of how well he fits the Shanahan mold.

4. TRADE — Denver Broncos: Trey Lance (No. 4)

Some have the Atlanta Falcons taking Lance at four, but in the end I think Arthur Smith’s new offense stands pat with the reliability of Matty Ice for a couple more seasons and trades down to reconstruct this roster from the inside out. That process may not start with an inexperienced QB, but it could begin with a haul of present and future draft picks. The next question is their trade partner, and although it has not been mentioned as much as a New England or Washington Football Team, the Denver Broncos are my under-the-radar candidate to make the jump from ninth to fourth. George Paton is taking over as GM for the Broncos, and he may try and make a splash in his first NFL Draft having the final say.

Everything about Paton’s thinking for his first draft screams Lance to me. It’s unexpected, out-of-the-box, and hopefully solves the problem that John Elway failed at for years in the same position — finding a franchise quarterback. Drew Lock has yet to display any qualities that separate him from the rest of the league, so I expect Paton to jump at the opportunity to bring in someone that can compete not only with Lock, but long-term with division rivals like Mahomes and Justin Herbert. Of course, the Broncos could also go with Fields here, but I’m sticking with my theme that this inexplicable stigma drops my QB1 down to QB5. I also like the fit for Lance in Denver. He played at North Dakota State, a similar climate, and his build and physicality as a runner bear some resemblance to Elway himself. Although I’m sure Broncos fans would also take his Josh Allen comp.

5. Detroit Lions: Justin Fields (No. 7)

So where oh where will Mr. Fields land? No he won’t fall out of the top 10, and I don’t expect the Cincinnati Bengals or Miami Dolphins to trade down either when they can grab the players they covet most (Kyle Pitts and Ja’Marr Chase by all reports) at five and six. That leaves the Detroit Lions, who could choose to trade down with the Patriots or the highest bidder, but honestly why would they? The Lions roster moves have signaled a total overhaul rebuild under the new regime of Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes, and they already have enough future draft capital from the Matthew Stafford trade where they don’t need more first round picks. They need a franchise quarterback. The wrinkle that you may point out is that they also received back Jared Goff and his contract in that same deal. Let’s be honest though, Goff is a placeholder in Detroit at best. At worst, he’s a cap casualty after 2022 (when cutting him would only cost $10 million). So why not accelerate the process if Justin Fields falls into your lap?

A player with as much potential as Fields could be a dream for Holmes at No. 7 in his first NFL Draft, and the young QB could even learn under Goff as a rookie before jumpining into the NFL head-first. He can truly do it all; whether it’s his accuracy as a passer or his agility as a runner, his escapability in the pocket or strong arm on the run, his competitiveness as an premier athlete or his confidence in primetime games. I’m not sure why every team is insistent on looking past Fields, and maybe it all is a smokescreen and he goes top three, but it just feels like the NFL scouts and decision-makers are talking themselves into passing on another superstar.

Best and Worst Fantasy Destinations for Ja’Marr Chase

Where Could Ja’Marr Chase Land?

By: Chris Thomas

There are a couple of weeks until the 2021 NFL Draft that is set to take place on April 29th. A popular question asked after the draft is when is an appropriate time to draft rookie skill position players during (redraft league) fantasy drafts. This question usually won’t get answered until the dust settles from the draft and the players are all paired with their new teams.

However after weeks of speculation there have been a couple of teams that have been pinpointed as potential destinations for this years top prospects. So why wait to determine the fantasy value of these players when there already is a solid consensus of where these players can end up?

Here are the best and worst destinations for LSU Wide Receiver Ja’Marr Chase to land for his fantasy value during the 2021-22 NFL season.

Ja’Marr Chase Player Bio

Ja’Marr Chase is a junior who played wide receiver at LSU. During the 2019-20 College Football Season Ja’Marr Chase established himself as one of the country’s top wide receivers. Chase was Joe Burrow’s number one target and an essential piece for LSU’s National Championship team. Chase led college football with both 1,780 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns during his sophomore season. He was the number one receiver in an offense that featured 2020 First Round pick and offensive rookie of the year candidate Justin Jefferson and projected top-40 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft Terrace Marshall Jr.

Chase is a very complete receiver. Not only can he use his 6’0″ frame to his advantage of 50/50 jump ball situations, but he also ran a 4.39 forty during LSU’s Pro Day. He uses that speed to stretch the football field and to create separation from defenders with the ball in his hands.

Even after opting out of last season, Chase is viewed as the top receiver this year by most people who have evaluated this draft class. He is expected to be selected with a top-10 selection to become a team’s number one receiver.

Best Destination: Detriot Lions

If Ja’Marr Chase begins to slide down the draft board and is available for the Detroit Lions, they would run the card up the podium. The Lions’ biggest need is for a true number one receiver. After losing Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. in free agency the Lions need a true number one receiver who is capable of putting up 1,000+ receiving yards in a season. Free-agent additions Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman are more complementary receivers at this point of their careers.

If Chase lands in Detroit he would immediately become Jared Goff’s number one receiver. During Goff’s time is Los Angeles multiple wide receivers have had outstanding fantasy production catching passes from him. Those receivers include Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, and Cooper Kupp. Chase could see around ten targets a game. As he showed at LSU, Chase has the ability to extend a play. So those targets would give him more opportunity to rack up yardage and potentially get in the end zone. A huge plus would be that the Lions defense will likely not be much better than it was last year. So the Lions could be forced to pass the ball for a majority of their games. That alone should make Chase a WR2 in standard redraft leagues with the upside to be one of the top players at the position.

Worst Destination: Miami Dolphins

A team that is rumored to be interested in taking a pass catcher early in the first round is the Miami Dolphins. After trading down to the twelfth pick from third overall, Miami moved back into the top-10 swapping first-round picks with the Philadelphia Eagles at #6. Those around the league believe Miami traded back into the top-10 for one of the draft’s top pass catchers. That is even though they already have pass-catchers like DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, and newly signed receiver Will Fuller in place. The Dolphins’ reasoning for likely choosing to select a pass catcher at #6 is to take the best player available and also give second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa every opportunity to succeed including giving him fantastic weapons to distribute the ball to in the passing game.

It is not certain what Chase’s role would be if he lands in Miami. Both DeVante Parker and Will Fuller have experience being primary receiving options in the past. On top of that none of Parker, Fuller, and Chase identify as slot receivers. This means they would have to transition one of the three inside in order to have all three on the field at once.

Also last year Tua Tagovailoa looked more like a game manager than a gunslinger in his rookie. Tagovailoa’s ability to be extremely accurate and limit turnovers is what he does best. That kind of skill set combined with the fact Miami is expected to be a run-first team may limit the production of Miami’s pass catchers. Miami’s philosophy is to limit turnovers and run out the clock while limiting the opponent’s offensive production with their stellar defense. All of that may come at the expense of Miami’s newest pass-catcher who is Ja’Marr Chase in this situation.

This would make Chase a borderline flex in standard redraft leagues. He could be drafted as the first player on a fantasy rosters bench. But will surely outplay where he is drafted as the season continues and his role grows as a part of the team’s offense.

Ranking all realistic destinations for Ja’Marr Chase by potential fantasy value

  1. Detroit Lions (Pick #7)
  2. Cincinnati Bengals (Pick #6)
  3. Miami Dolphins (Pick #5)

Wide Receiver and Running Back Free Agent Targets for the Detroit Lions

What Offensive Skill Players Should Dan Campbell Target in Free Agency?

By: Rachel Marie – @rachmariesports

With the entire new coaching staff nearly assembled and the front office bursting with enthusiasm, it’s time to look at free agent wide receivers and running backs that could help take the Detroit Lions to the next level in 2021.

1. Allen Robinson

I wrote about why the Lions should consider Robinson in a previous article for Pro Football Mania, but I feel that here and now is the right time to write about said consideration again. With Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola all set to be free agents, the Lions will be seriously lacking in veteran receiver talent. This, of course, can only be addressed through free agency and Robinson tops most lists at the position.

In 2020, with Mitchell Trubisky at the helm, Robinson notched 120 receptions, 1,250 yards and six touchdowns. Now pair his abilities with those of Jared Goff, who I expect to come into Detroit with a chip on his shoulder and looking to get back to his 2018 numbers, and this could be a QB/WR duo that could set the league on fire.

Plus, the addition of veteran wide receiver talent will be necessary to ensure that Goff’s transition to Detroit is as successful as possible. I expect Lions general manager Brad Holmes to carefully select the pieces that he places around Goff, considering Holmes is credited for drafting Goff in 2016 and seeing his NFL potential. Rumor has it over at Detroit Sports Nation that Robinson may already be on Holmes’ list.

2. Corey Davis

Hailing from Western Michigan, Corey Davis is another intriguing free agent that may want to come “home” and the Lions should certainly be taking a look at making him the offer.

In the 2020 season, Davis caught 65 passes for a career-high 984 yards, averaging 15.1 yards per reception, and scored five touchdowns. At just 26, Davis is set to test the waters of free agency for the first time as he opted out of his 5th year option with the Tennessee Titans.

This move could end up a much more cap friendly deal for the Lions compared to Robinson. According to TitansWire, “As far as his market value goes, Spotrac estimates that Davis will receive a contract worth $39.4 million over four years, which works out to an annual average salary of $9.8 million”.

And then, maybe the Lions will be the team doing the burning in situations like the one below, instead of the other way around:

3. Kenyan Drake

Kenyan Drake is an intriguing prospect with a high ceiling. After being traded to the Arizona Cardinals in week 9 of the 2019 season, Drake led the Cardinals in rushing yards with 643 and rushing touchdowns with eight over the final eight games of the season.

In 2020, Drake totaled 239 carries for 955 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also finished the season with 25 receptions for 137 yards, an average of 5.7 yards per reception. That’s pretty impressive continued productivity for the 2016 third round pick from Alabama.

Now, picture the five year veteran alongside Lion’s young up-and-coming running back D’Andre Swift and that paints a mighty pretty picture for any backfield. Plus, a veteran presence in the locker room, if Detroit does not retain Adrian Peterson, is always an added bonus. From SEC to DET. Sounds good to me.

4. Mike Davis

With Christian McCaffrey’s injury leaving him out the majority of the 2020 season, Mike Davis was able to show us that he is a more than serviceable back. According to SI’s All Panthers site, “Davis didn’t just step up and get the job done, he had a career year. He finished the season with a career-high in carries (165), rushing yards (642), rushing touchdowns (6), receptions (59), receiving yards (373), and receiving touchdowns (2). Had he been “the guy” from start to finish, you’re probably talking about tacking on another 200 or so more rushing yards”.

Bringing in a back like Davis would not only be a nice pairing alongside D’Andre Swift, Detroit’s RB1, but it would end up working out perfectly for the Lions as far as cap space is concerned.

Davis is also familiar with, and comfortable with, splitting touches. He is quoted as saying, “Yeah I mean, that would be nice to have (being a starting RB somewhere) but I’ve been put in that situation before where that was supposed to be the case and it didn’t end up working out being that way. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side’.

That attitude and complementary play style could start brewing big things in Detroit in the backfield.

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