The Detroit Lions' 2020 season is all but over in regard to playoff hopes.
Barring a miracle, the Matt Patricia-led Lions will once again be at home watching the postseason -- for the third consecutive season with Patricia at the helm.
In all likelihood, the underwhelming season will be the final straw for this current Lions regime.
Unfortunately, the future hasn’t been this bleak in quite some time.
If, in fact, there is to be a new head coach and/or general manager next year, there is a couple of foundational pieces that the team can build around.
Relative to most other NFL teams, there aren’t as many building blocks, but there are at least a few.
Obviously, the quarterback is vital to a team.
For the sake of discussion and the potentially foggy future for the Lions' signal-caller, though, Stafford will not be included on the list.
Here are the three players that the Lions can build around in 2021.
Decker just allowed his first sack of the season this past week, and has played some of his best football to date, dating back to the midway point of last year.
This offseason, the former first-round pick signed a rather team-friendly, four-year extension. He will be with the Lions for the long haul.
Considering that the quarterback’s blindside protector is one of the most important and most difficult positions to find in the game, Decker’s presence is a major plus.
It’s fair to say that Decker might not be in the elite category, but he is close.
Staying along the offensive line, arguably the second most important spot is the center -- sometimes called the quarterback of the offensive line.
Ragnow appears to have it all: athleticism, power, size and intellectual aptitude.
In Ragnow’s two short years as a center in the NFL, he has consistently been among the league’s best.
With him, Decker and rookie guard Jonah Jackson, if there is one position group on the Lions that can provide hope for the future, it's the young core of the offensive line.
Once again, an offensive player.
The argument could be made for one of the Lions' cornerbacks as a foundational piece. But, neither Jeff Okudah or Amani Oruwariye has yet to show the potential of Swift.
Tight end T.J. Hockenson could receive some votes, as well, for a spot among the organization's top three “building blocks.”
The third year for a tight end can oftentimes be the year where things really start to click.
Yes, Swift has a pretty small sample size, and his lingering injury history is concerning for his availability moving forward.
Still, his ability to play in all phases of the game, coupled with his agility, is impressive.
If used properly, Swift can be a real weapon -- a difference-maker -- on a team that doesn’t have many at the moment.
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