Sat, 04 Jul 2020

Lions offseason questions: New Lion to watch

Detroit Lions
23 May 2020, 20:25 GMT+10

The Detroit Lions are making their way through their virtual offseason training program without in-person OTA and minicamp practices. While we're all looking forward to seeing the new free-agent signings and draft picks take the field in a Lions uniform for the first time, we're going to have to wait a little longer than usual.

When the Lions are able to hit the field, which new Lion are you most excited to see in action? I asked the Detroitlions.com crew, and here's what they had to say:

Tim Twentyman: Linebacker Jamie Collins Sr.

I'm looking forward to seeing how head coach Matt Patricia and defensive coordinator Cory Undlin use Collins. He's an extremely athletic and versatile defender, and we could see him line up all over the field. He played 81 percent of the snaps for New England's top-ranked defense last season, and set a career-high with seven sacks to go along with 81 tackles, three forced fumbles and three interceptions while playing as an edge rusher, defensive tackle and off-the-ball linebacker.

The last time he played a full season with Patricia as his coach (2015 in New England when Patricia was the DC), Collins had 89 tackles, 5.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, an interception and a touchdown. He earned a Pro Bowl nod for the performance. The Lions' defense can use more of that production.

Mike O'Hara: Running back D'Andre Swift

And with all due respect to the others, it's not close.

I've seen the immediate impact running backs make on a franchise - Billy Sims in 1980, Barry Sanders in 1989, Jahvid Best in 2011 - his second year until going out with a career-ending injury - and it's unlike any other position.

I rated Swift as the No. 1 back in this year's draft who could make an impact on the Lions. He can run the ball, catch the ball and protect the quarterback.

Having Swift drop to where the Lions could draft him with the third pick in the second round was the biggest break the Lions have gotten in the draft since the Packers passed on taking Sanders in 1989 and he was on the board for the Lions with the third pick.

Swift is not Sanders. Nobody is. But adding him to a backfield that has Kerryon Johnson gives the Lions the depth and talent at running back that they need in 2020.

Tori Petry: Linebacker Jamie Collins Sr.

My video conference chat with Collins during free agency was one of my favorites, both because of his fun personality and his palpable excitement to be joining forces with Patricia again. I'm looking forward to seeing how that reunion plays out and how Patricia uses his versatile skillset. Collins' playmaking ability paired with Patricia's defensive strategies could help turn the tables for the Lions' defense.

Editor's Pick: Cornerback Jeff Okudah

Okudah is the Lions' first top-three draft pick in quite some time, and he's the most likely of all the rookies to earn a starting job. Let's see what he's got.

More Detroit News

Access More

Sign up for Detroit News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!