Lions Assemble Elite Roster, Featuring ‘the Next Nick Bosa’

Increasingly, the Lions boast exceptional players across the board. At nearly every position, the reigning NFC North champions feature top-tier, game-changing talent. Their status as Super Bowl favorites is well-deserved.

In ESPN’s yearly ranking of the NFL’s top 10 players at each position, derived from insights by executives, coaches, and scouts, the Lions continue to earn recognition.

Aidan Hutchinson, following a season with 11.5 sacks and the second-highest quarterback pressures in the NFL, ranked as the sixth-best edge rusher, trailing only Maxx Crosby, Nick Bosa, Micah Parsons, T.J. Watt, and Myles Garrett.

“High ceiling. He will be the next Nick Bosa,” remarked an NFL scouting director. “Banking on him getting even better. Highly disruptive, physical, near rare motor.”

Bosa, the second overall pick in 2019, clinched Defensive Player of the Year with 18.5 sacks in his third NFL season. Hutchinson, the second overall pick in 2021, is now entering his third season.

On offense, Jahmyr Gibbs ranked eighth among running backs, positioned between Derrick Henry and Josh Jacobs. The 12th overall pick last year nearly rushed for 1,000 yards as a rookie and finished third among running backs in yards per carry.

“Change of pace. Fast. Elusive. Versatile,” an AFC executive commented. “Dynamic in the passing game. Not a typical North-South runner you love in a run-heavy offense, but he can break explosive plays at the snap of a finger, which is scary in our league.”

Though the Lions had no safeties in the top 10, Brian Branch earned an honorable mention after an impressive rookie season.

“Has natural coverage ability so that allows him to play in the slot or over the top. He’s also an instinctive player that has a knack for finding the ball and making plays in both phases,” noted an NFC personnel evaluator.

(Former Lion C.J. Gardner-Johnson also received an honorable mention: “The Eagles signed him back because their secondary was soft as s— without him. He’s a pest. Can cover in the slot, play in the post, or come up and hit.”)

ESPN also released rankings for defensive tackles, where the Lions were not represented. However, keep an eye on Alim McNeill, who’s on the brink of stardom. And don’t overlook DJ Reader.

In the coming days, expect to see Sam LaPorta among the best tight ends, Penei Sewell among the best offensive tackles, Frank Ragnow and possibly Kevin Zeitler among the best interior offensive linemen, Amon-Ra St. Brown among the best wide receivers, and Jared Goff likely among the best quarterbacks.

The only positions where the Lions might not be represented are off-ball linebacker, where Alex Anzalone is coming off his best season and first-round pick Jack Campbell is poised for a breakout, and cornerback, where Carlton Davis III could get some attention and rookie first-round pick Terrion Arnold is set to debut.

Including honorable mentions, the Lions are likely to have players in the top-10 conversation at eight of the 10 positions. At least seven. As safety Kerby Joseph said this week, “It just goes to show that we’re here.”

“The Lions, we’re not the same anymore. We’re just coming for it all. We want to change the narrative around the organization and just showcase for the fans and the city,” he declared.

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