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Lions the NFL’s Version of “Rags to Riches”

The Lions not too long ago were beyond the laughing stock of the NFL.  Fans wearing paper bags over their heads to games, a constant source of material for late night talk show host Jay Leno and a heap of embarrassment later and the Lions are back.  After a slew of unsuccessful top draft picks, Detroit finally got lucky with the acquisition of Calvin Johnson, or “Megatron” as he is referred to.  Two years later the Lions struck gold again with the #1 overall pick quarterback Matthew Stafford from the University of Georgia.

The Lions are coming off a 2011-2012 NFL season where they were 4th in the league in passing yards per game (300.9 ypg) and had the receiver with the most yards, Calvin Johnson (1,681 yards).  The passing attack presented by Detroit was lethal as Stafford’s big arm combined with Johnson’s devastating athletic ability was almost impossible for defenders to stop.  Megatron has solidified himself as one of, if not the, best receiver in football; finishing last season with a mind boggling 96 catches for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns.  More impressive though was the way Johnson would go up for jump balls often with two defenders draped all over him and somehow always come down with the ball.  Calvin Johnson Jr. recently signed the largest contract in NFL history this off-season with an extension of 8 years worth approximately 132 million dollars.  As well he will be the coveted “Madden Cover Boy” being on the front of the newest edition in the Madden gaming series, Madden ’13.

Much improved as well was the play of the Lions defense, though they were still ranked in the low 20’s league-wide.  This was in large part due to the men up front for Detroit which was led by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.  Suh along with Nick Fairley and Kyle Vanden Bosch were a nightmare for opposing offensive lines.  Suh is one of the fiercest defenders in the NFL and this aggression sometimes gets him in trouble as he has been fined and suspended several times already in his young career by Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner.  As well, Nick Fairley after a good rookie season got into trouble this off-season being pulled over and arrested for a DUI.  Luckily no one was harmed, but this will call into question Fairley’s immediate future.

The Lions are not staying satisfied on the offensive side of the ball, drafting offensive tackle Riley Reiff with the #23 overall pick and taking stand-out wide receiver from Oklahoma Ryan Broyles in the 2012 NFL Draft.  Reiff should help a mediocre Detroit offensive line and look to improve their rushing attack while Broyles could immediately become Stafford’s second option behind Megatron.

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