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The Lions appear to have been active during free agency, signing more than a dozen players and trading for another.

But, as the NFL Draft draws near, are they any better?

Judging from Sports Illustrated's pre-draft power rankings posted Wednesday, not much. After finishing with the league's third-worst record last season, Sports Illustrated's Jenny Vrentas has Detroit ahead of just four other teams at No. 28 heading into the draft April 23-25.

That's only slightly better than ESPN's power rankings posted last week, slotting the Lions at No. 29.

Both noted Detroit's penchant for adding former New England Patriots, the most recent being the reported addition of cornerback Darryl Roberts.

Roberts would be the Lions' 14th free-agent signing this offseason, a group that includes fellow former Patriots in linebacker Jamie Collins, defensive tackle Danny Shelton, and safety Duron Harmon (who was acquired in a trade).

"In Martha Firestone Ford’s announcement to season-ticket holders in December that the team was retaining GM Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia, she said she expects the team to be a playoff contender in 2020," writes Vrentas, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and its Monday Morning Quarterback section. "Their plan to improve seems to be adding more ex-Patriots to the roster and banking on a boost from the return of Matthew Stafford.

"There were already plenty of reasons for Patricia to be on the hot seat, but Darius Slay’s criticism of his former head coach on the way out the door only added fuel to that flame."

The Lions traded Slay, their Pro Bowl cornerback, to the Philadelphia Eagles in mid-March for third- and fifth-round picks in this month's draft. The secondary appears to have been a focus for Detroit in the offseason, adding five defensive backs through free agency and the Harmon trade. The Lions also appear to be in position to draft Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah with their first-round pick.

The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs top Sports Illustrated's rankings, with the Cincinnati Bengals (No. 29), Carolina Panthers (30), Washington (31), and Jacksonville Jaguars (32) the only teams trailing the Lions.

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