I have been a Detroit Lions fan since 1980. That makes me a bit of a Lions historian. I’m not bragging nor am I trying to brag. It just comes with time served as a Lions fan. During that time I have seen a lot of bad football, moments of good football while great football has been mostly absent. There is a reason for that, let’s dig in.
When I first began watching the Detroit Lions they had just drafted Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims from the Oklahoma Sooners. Sims would be the featured player for the Lions until a knee injury ended his playing career. Did you catch that? Billy Sims was the Lions featured player. No other name. One guy to carry the entire team. The question is would Sims have had a career ending knee injury if there were others to help out?
Barry Sanders, he of some of the most jaw-dropping moves I or anyone has ever seen. He was a human highlight reel. This time the Lions sort of came to their senses and also drafted wide receiver Herman Moore. Together Sanders and Moore brought the Detroit offense more balance than it had had before. Yet, two players are not enough to get a team to a championship.
Calvin Johnson, here is one of the best wide receivers the NFL has ever had. The Lions reverted back to their bad ways and did not put anyone around him. Like Barry Sanders, by the age of 30 Calvin Johnson had had enough and retired. Figuring the Lions would not bring in enough talent to seriously compete.
For current Detroit Lions owner Shelia Ford Hamp, she has taken over a team with some talent. No really. Even though former head coach Matt Patricia could not figure out how to make it all work there is actually more than one player to set the Lions up for a positive future.
Kenny Golladay, T. J. Hockenson, Taylor Decker, D’ Andre Swift, Amani Oruwarye and a few others, give the Lions some young base talent for the next general manager and head coach.
Yes the Lions are going to rebuild. But the players listed are building blocks. It will be interesting to see the process they franchise takes moving forward. But the cupboard is not bare.