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Ezekiel Ansah named 43rd best player in 2016

The Detroit Lions' premier defensive end was the first -- and perhaps only -- player on NFL Network's Top 100 Players of 2016.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Network continued their countdown of the top 100 players for 2016 on Wednesday. The Detroit Lions were shut out from the previous installments listing players 51 through 100. But after 58 non-Lions players were named, Ezekiel Ansah broke the streak. Ansah's peers named him the 43rd best player of 2016.

Ansah's spot on the list is well deserved. He led NFC in sacks last year with 14.5. In addition, he was third in the entire league with four forced fumbles. What may be more impressive about his performance is the fact he was accompanied by backup defensive tackles for most of the year. This was Ansah first year on the list, despite logging 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles just a year ago.

This could very well be the first and only Lions player on NFL Network's list of the top 100 players of 2016. Darius Slay could land on the list, but he would have to outrank other cornerbacks like Chris Harris Jr. (No. 52) and Marcus Peters (No. 65). Matthew Stafford may make an appearance, but it's hard to imagine players voting him over Andrew Luck (No. 92), Kirk Cousins (No. 85) and Derek Carr (No. 100). DeAndre Levy is also a possibility, but after spending a full year on the sidelines, there's little buzz surrounding the linebacker.

Last year, the Lions had five players on the list: Calvin Johnson (No. 6), DeAndre Levy (No. 66), Haloti Ngata (No. 82), Golden Tate (No. 85) and Glover Quin (No. 88). But after a disappointing 7-9 season in 2015, it should come as no surprise the Lions are not as well represented on the list this year.

To see the Ansah's segment from the countdown, click here.

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