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The first wave of free agency has left the Detroit Lions No. 29 in the latest ESPN NFL Power Rankings, up one spot from the previous rankings published in February.
ESPN polls more than 80 of its writers, editors and TV personalities to set its rankings.
The Lions outranked only Jacksonville at No. 30, Washington at No. 31 and Cincinnati at No. 32.
“Three words: The Midwestern Patriots. It might not be the phrase some in Allen Park like hearing, but that's been the direction throughout this offseason,” says ESPN’s Michael Rothstein. “The Lions brought in an ex-Pat on every level of their defense – defensive tackle Danny Shelton, linebacker Jamie Collins and safety Duron Harmon. It's possible that five defensive starters will have New England ties. Then there's the coaching staff, where all but two defensive staffers have some Patriots past. It makes sense, in a crucial year, that general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia would want to bring in people who know the scheme and understand the culture they are trying to build.”
The Lions’ most recent addition was wide receiver Geronimo Allison, the 13th free agent Detroit has signed this offseason. Harmon was acquired in a trade.
“Allison joins a group in Detroit that's returning its top four pass-catchers from a year ago, led by the starting trio of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola,” writes The Detroit News’ Justin Rogers. “He transitioned to a slot-heavy role in Green Bay's new offensive scheme last season, playing more than 70 percent of his snaps tighter to the formation.”
Topping the ESPN rankings are Kansas City, Baltimore and San Francisco.