The perception around Detroit, for the most part, is that Bob Quinn has had far more hits than misses in his two drafts as Lions GM. And while that’s bearing to be true with significant contributions from those aforementioned players, those hits haven’t been top-tier talent, at least not according to the Worldwide Leader.
On Thursday, Mike Sando of ESPN released his rankings of the “Top 25 under-25 NFL players” for the 2017 season and not a single Lions player made the cut.
This year’s list is composed of four quarterbacks (Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff), five defensive backs (Marcus Peters, Jalen Ramsey, Marshon Lattimore, Landon Collins, Kevin Byard), five running backs (Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, Jordan Howard), five receivers (Mike Evans, Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, Amari Cooper, Michael Thomas), four front-seven players (Joey Bosa, Jadeveon Clowney, Leonard Williams, Danielle Hunter), and two offensive linemen (Jack Conklin and Ronnie Stanley).
In order to put together the rankings, Sando tapped “four NFL talent evaluators and then spoke with a few others in making final tweaks.” As far as criteria goes, Sando says the list takes into account a number of factors, and the rankings “reflect a blend of production and potential, with availability also factoring. Positional value was a consideration, but not an overriding one.”
In addition to the top 25, Sando included a list of nine players who just missed the list, none of which were Lions.
For Detroit, Taylor Decker could be considered a player left on either list’s doorstep, but his injury in the offseason most likely kept him off of the evaluator’s radar, as they instead chose to include Stanley and Conklin—two offensive tackles also taken in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Detroit’s roster sports a few players who could join the list over the next couple of seasons as A’Shawn Robinson, Jarrad Davis, and Jamal Agnew are all just 22 years old and figure to be integral to the team’s plans moving forward.