By: Will Burchfield
@burchie_kid

The Lions are right back where they started through eight games of the 2016 season, with as many wins as losses. They sit in third place in the NFC North and ninth place in the NFC, half a game out of a wild card spot.

After Detroit’s loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday, Jim Caldwell summed up his team’s first-half performance best.

“When you look midway through the season and you’re 4-4, you’re playing average.  Average is not going to get it. So we have to play better,” he said.

Still, there are some Lions who have played above average through the team’s first eight games. Here, according to ProFootballFocus, is a list of Detroit’s top-ranked defensive players, broken down by position. (Catch the offensive rankings here.)

 

Cornerback: Darius Slay
 
Season grade: 84.3 (above average)
 
Position rank: 10
 
Key stats: 8 passes defended, 1 INT, 22 tackles, 1 sack
 
Key grades: 83.8 coverage, 70.5 run defense, 66.0 pass rush
 
Top-ranked CB: A.J. Bouye, HOU (91.3)
 
Safety: Glover Quin 
 
Season grade: 77.9 (average)
 
Position rank: 36
 
Key stats: 2 passes defended, 1 INT, 27 tackles
 
Key grades: 77.1 coverage, 69.5 run defense, 67.4 pass rush
 
Top-ranked S: Eric Weddle, BAL (92.4)
 
Linebacker: Tahir Whitehead 
 
Season grade: 34.8 (poor)
 
Position rank: 84
 
Key stats: 52 tackles, 5 passes defended
 
Key grades: 47.5 run defense, 35.8 coverage, 47.0 pass rush
 
 
Interior Defender: Haloti Ngata 
 
Season grade: 49.6 (poor)
 
Position rank: 62
 
Key stats: 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 pass defended
 
Key grades: 48.7 run defense, 69.6 pass rush
 
Top-ranked ID: Aaron Donald, LA (94.7)
 
Edge Defender: Kerry Hyder
 
Season grade: 75.5 (average)
 
Position rank: 48
 
Key stats: 15 tackles, 5 sacks
 
Key grades: 73.7 pass rush, 65.1 run defense
 
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