Monson: Are the Detroit Lions secret geniuses for building from the trenches first? | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF

NFL News & Analysis

Premium Content Sign Up

Monson: Are the Detroit Lions secret geniuses for building from the trenches first?

Detroit Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell (58) warms up during organized team activities at Lions headquarters in Allen Park, Thursday, May 27, 2021.

The Detroit Lions’ approach to building their roster in new head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes' first offseason has been an old-school exercise in foundation-laying — attack the lines of scrimmage. But what if there is more intelligent design behind that strategy than simple caveman NFL thinking?

Conventional NFL wisdom says that a team should be built from the trenches, but analytics would argue that because of positional value, a team should be built from the outside in. Receivers and cornerbacks are more valuable than offensive and defensive linemen in terms of PFF Wins Above Replacement, so those players should be targeted and coveted above other positions.

Yet, the Lions might be onto something.

Subscribe to

Targeting the most important and valuable positions is only part of the equation of a total rebuild, which the Lions are in the midst of. The new regime was handed monster six-year contracts, which brings the kind of long-term security that allows the group to think about a roster transformation spanning multiple seasons. The Lions had a rare opportunity to look at this rebuild from square one, knowing that Rome wasn’t going to get built in a day.

Subscribe to PFF Edge to continue reading

Already have a subscription? Sign In

Tackle Lifes financial Challenges. Western Southern Financial Group.

NFL Featured Tools

  • Power Rankings are PFF’s NFL power ratings based on weekly player grades in each facet of play. These power rankings are adjusted based on coach, quarterback and the market each season.

    Available with

  • PFF predictions and real time spread, moneyline and over/under lines for each NFL game.

    Available with

  • PFF's Player Props Tool reveals betting opportunities within player prop markets.

    Available with

  • PFF's exclusive metrics provide matchup previews, position rankings, grades, and snap counts.

    Available with

  • Our exclusive database, featuring the most in-depth collection of NFL player performance data.

    Available with

Pro Subscriptions

Unlock NFL Player Grades, Fantasy & NFL Draft

$9.99 / mo
$39.99 / yr

Unlock Premium Stats, PFF Greenline & DFS

$34.99 / mo
$199.99 / yr