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The Detroit Lions defensive line has not been a source of pride in the last couple of seasons. However, some smart additions and a new scheme have the unit pointing up for 2021.

In its latest positional rankings, Pro Football Focus placed the Lions defensive line at No. 24 overall. While that might still seem low, Detroit finished last year at No. 30 in PFF’s grading. The reason for the bump comes in the comments highlighting several of the new additions to the unit,

Detroit’s defensive line unit finished the 2020 season ranked 30th in PFF grade, ahead of only the Vikings and Texans. Several offseason additions on the interior — such as Michael Brockers, Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill — along with the return of a healthy Trey Flowers should improve matters in 2021, but the Lions still have a ways to go to get back to average.

The Lions fare a little better at FTN, where former Lions analyst Brett Whitefield ranked Detroit with the 19th-best DL. FTN’s rankings are more geared for fantasy football, but the expected bump in production would certainly count as real progress in the overall play of the new-look defensive front.

Finally, Michael Nania at Jets X-Factor combined some analytical data and projections and ranked the Lions at No. 24. Interestingly, the run defense fares quite well in this metric.


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