Lions Have Earned Top PFF Run-Blocking Grade in NFL
Going into the 2020 season, the Detroit Lions shuffled around their offensive line a bit.
General manager Bob Quinn released right tackle Rick Wagner, and let right guard Graham Glasgow walk in free agency.
To replace those two, the Lions added Halapoulivaati Vaitai and rookie Jonah Jackson.
Despite injuries forcing their starting projected line to make alignment adjustments, the Lions are finding success in the run-blocking department.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Lions currently have the highest overall run-blocking grade (80.3) in the entire NFL.
Leading the charge are center Frank Ragnow and left tackle Taylor Decker, who have the second overall run-blocking grade and 11th overall grade, respectively, at their positions.
Meanwhile, Vaitai's run-blocking grade of 68.5 is the 19th best of 79 qualified guards, while Jackson's is 28th.
At a respectable 4.3 yards per carry average -- tied for 13th-best in the NFL -- the big uglies are doing their part.
What's interesting is that at the same time, PFF gave the Lions' ball-carriers the second-lowest grade in the league.
An example of why that might be the case: Eighty of D'Andre Swift's 116 rushing yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars came before contact -- the most by a Lions running back since Jahvid Best had 98 yards before contact in 2011.
All three of the Lions' running backs -- Swift, Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson -- are in the bottom 15 of 57 total qualified running backs in the NFL for average yards after contact.
It means the offensive line is doing their job at opening holes, while the backs are struggling to get yards for themselves or struggling to break tackles once a defender gets a hand on them.
You also can't forget that there are more than just linemen who block on running plays.
The tight ends and fullback Jason Cabinda have played their part in the run game, as well.
Needless to say, the Lions seem to have a formidable offensive line when it comes to run blocking.
Now, it's on the running backs to take advantage, like Swift did last week.
More from SI All Lions:
Get the latest Detroit Lions news by joining our community. Click "Follow" at the top right of our SI All Lions page. Mobile users click the notification bell. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @DetroitPodcast.