Eight games are in the books, and the Detroit Lions currently sit at 5-3. They sit a half-game behind the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North and hold the final playoff spot in the NFC if the season ended today.
Many newcomers have played key roles in that positive record. Some of them are prominent draft picks. Others are notable free agents. A couple even are pleasant surprises from the land of the undrafted free agents.
I have watched every game at least twice, even the All-22 film from Cleveland that appeared to be shot from a passing blimp. Between my own evaluations, statistical analyses and observations by trusted resources, here is a midseason assessment on the progress of the newcomers.
The rookies come first, followed by the free agents. The two undrafted free agents come after the bigger ticket ones.
This piece will frequently cite data from Pro Football Focus, an independent evaluator of NFL games which breaks down and grades every player for every game. You need a subscription to view their premium statistics, but it's absolutely worth it if you love probing deeper into what's happening in the NFL.
*All other statistical data comes from NFL.com unless otherwise specified.