By: Will Burchfield
According to MMQB’s ranking of the top-400 players in the NFL, only two teams have more depth than the Lions.
The Chiefs and the defending Super Bowl champs.
16 Lions cracked the top 400, which was tied for third most with three teams from the NFC South, including the last two NFC champs: the Falcons, the Panthers and the Buccaneers.
The Patriots led the way with 20 players among the top 400. The Chiefs had 19.
It’s clear, however, the Lions lack high-end talent. They only had one player crack the top 100 — Ziggy Ansah.
“Guys with Ansah’s lankiness shouldn’t be allowed to move as explosively as he does. Don’t worry about last year’s sack total (two), that’s aberrational,” the MMQB wrote.
After Ansah, the Lions highest-ranked players were Matthew Stafford (No. 117), T.J. Lang (No. 128), Darius Slay (No. 173), Taylor Decker (No. 183) and Rick Wagner (No. 188).
The rest of Detroit’s featured players were well outside the top 200.
The MMQB evaluated players almost entirely based on film, with little concern for statistics. Special-teamers and rookies were not included.
“A player’s raw talent, cultivated skill set, and role within his team’s system were taken strongest into consideration,” the MMQB explained.
Stafford’s ranking is surprisingly low considering he landed at No. 31 in a player vote conducted earlier this summer. His peers clearly think more highly of him than certain film analysts.
Pro Football Focus, on the other hand, agrees with the MMQB. When PFF released its ranking of the NFL’s top-50 players last month, the Lions were shut out.
On Tuesday, USA Today projected the Lions to go 5-11 in 2017.