Over at ESPN.com, Pro Football Focus has released an interesting article wherein they rank every roster by overall talent. PFF is a group that watches every play and hands out grades and such, and I generally think they do a good job. I am not completely in agreement with this article, they have the Rams ranked 31st and also the list doesn't seem to adjust for the value of each position, which is fine but must be kept in mind. Anyway, it's worth checking out, but to cut to the chase, the Detroit Lions rank fairly high, all the way up at 11.
Overall, I agree with the ratings for the players listed in Detroit's section, which includes two rookies that didn't get ranked, obviously. The Lions have two elite players, Calvin Johnson and Ndamukong Suh. Detroit ranks seventh in the NFC. This is encouraging for the Lions as they head into the season, but, the thing is, having talent isn't new for the Lions.
Detroit had talent last year. They've had talent for a few years. Megatron and Suh have been around for a while. You could say the Lions have had playoff caliber talent for a couple of seasons. Of course, they only made the playoffs once in recent years, and haven't made much noise. They have underachieved. Perhaps that was because of the old coaching staff. Maybe Jim Schwartz was part of the problem. Perhaps Jim Caldwell and Joe Lombardi and Teryl Austin will lift this team up. Maybe Eric Ebron and Kyle Van Noy will be upgrades, and maybe the secondary will stay healthy and Ziggy Ansah will break out and so on and so forth. Detroit has also been unlucky the last couple of seasons. That may change too.
In the end, the Lions could have the 11th most talented roster in the NFL. That would make them a playoff team, or at least a playoff contender. However, there is a lot more to Detroit having success. Matthew Stafford has to cut down on the turnovers and the coaches need to be a positive for the team. We'll find out when the season begins.