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Lions make big jump in ESPN's Future Power Rankings

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ESPN's annual Future Power Rankings list is out. Where did they rank the Detroit Lions? Let's take a look.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Each year, ESPN puts together Future Power Rankings for the NFL's 32 teams. The power rankings are based on the projected outlook of the next three seasons, and they're determined by a team's roster, quarterback, drafting skills, front office and coaching. Each of those categories is weighted in order to form scores for all 32 teams.

This year, the Detroit Lions came in at No. 12 in ESPN's Future Power Rankings. This is nine spots better than their No. 21 ranking last year, even though the Lions' score dropped a bit. In fact, their scores in the roster, quarterback and draft categories all went down, but based on the job the new coaching staff did last year, the front office and coaching grades went up. With other teams seeing their scores drop quite a bit, the Lions managed to jump into the top 12 in this year's rankings.

Despite being 12th overall, the Lions only came in third in the NFC North. That's because the Green Bay Packers led the entire pack at No. 1 overall, and the Minnesota Vikings saw a massive jump from 26th last year to seventh this year. The Chicago Bears, meanwhile, were dead last in the NFC North by a wide margin with an overall ranking of 25th.

Although their No. 12 ranking is a big improvement from last year, it's not the highest the Lions have ever been ranked in this series. Back in 2012, the Lions were actually sixth in the entire NFL. They followed that up with back-to-back No. 21 rankings, but they're once again trending in the right direction this year.