The Detroit Lions have invested plenty of time in a long-term fix for their culture this offseason, and finally, it seems to be paying off quickly.
Detroit has been having a very solid solid free agency period, and followed that up with a great and fun NFL Draft. Experts are starting to notice what the team has been doing, and are giving the Lions plenty of love for what they have done thus far under Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell this offseason.
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Following the NFL Draft, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert proclaimed it as “fact” that the Lions had a fun draft, and said in their opinion, the team has finally injected some life and the right culture within the team in order to lead to some bigger winning down the line. A big reason is the team seems to be having fun again, which puts the new group already well ahead of their predecessors.
“From their aggressive celebration after drafting Sewell to defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike’s profanity-laced declaration about the way he hits people at the line of scrimmage, it was physically impossible for Lions fans to avoid smiling at some point over the course of the weekend. When viewed in the context of new coach Dan Campbell’s stated desire to bite kneecaps, it’s pretty clear that the Lions won’t take themselves too seriously. They’ll have some energy, which is always the first building block in improving a team. They’re already ahead of where they were at the start of the Matt Patricia regime, which was cold and lifeless from the start.”
Cold and lifeless is a good way to describe the last regime, and it might not take much to be better than Patricia right off the bat. Still, it would be noteworthy if the Lions could get things turned around that fast for their future.
Lions Culture Looking Better Already
It isn’t a stretch to proclaim the team much better off now than under Matt Patricia. Brad Holmes has come in and been a solid influence already, and Dan Campbell has shown to be the kind of leader that can galvanize young players and veteran players alike. Already, the team’s older players have taken a liking to the culture he is trying to build, and it’s not a stretch to say the young guys the team has drafted will fit the team like a glove. The front office is trying to bring Calvin Johnson back into the fold and keep their former players happy, so from top to bottom, it seems the franchise is simply in a better place than it was just less than a year ago.
Obviously, there’s a long way to go before the culture can be proclaimed to be completely fixed, but the Lions are certainly off to arguably their best start ever at getting things right.
Lions 2021 NFL Draft Recap
If the culture is going to flip, Detroit’s 2021 class will be the foundation of that. Detroit came into the draft and was wide open for the most part after selecting Penei Sewell in the 2021 NFL Draft and even after Levi Onwuzurike in the second-round. In the third-round, the Lions selected defensive lineman Alim McNeill and cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu. Day three, the Lions picked wideout Amon-Ra St.Brown and linebacker Derrick Barnes. Finally, the team closed out their draft by grabbing running back Jermar Jefferson in the seventh-round. Sewell’s addition feels huge given what the team needs, as are the defensive fill-ins at key spots.
No matter whether it was offense or defense, the Lions seemed to fill their needs very confidently as the weekend rolled on. The class had good balance overall offense to defense.
Clearly, Sanders could be counted as a believer in this mindset after watching the draft.
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