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Top Detroit Lions players of 2017: 90-81

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We start counting down the top 90 players on the Detroit Lions roster.

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South Florida v Cincinnati Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Over the past week or so, the Pride Of Detroit staff has been busy behind the scenes scouring over the current Detroit Lions roster. Detroit currently has 90 players on their roster, and in just two months time, that number will have to be nearly halved when the Lions finalize their 53-man roster.

To get an idea of who those final 53 players will be, five members of the Pride Of Detroit staff ranked every single Lions player from 1 to 90. Myself, Alex Reno, Ryan Mathews, Jerry Mallory and Kyle Yost all individually ranked the Lions roster, and then I gathered all of the numbers, averaged the rankings out, then re-ranked them based on the averages.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to list every single ranking of the 90 players on the roster. Today, we’ll start with the bottom 10 players on the roster.

90. P Kasey Redfern (High: 81, Low: 90)

It’s probably not completely fair to rank the backup punter/kicker as the worst player on the roster. For all we really know, Redfern is an adequate special teamer. However, the Lions have a very good punter and kicker on the roster, so unless there’s an injury, there’s zero chance Redfern wins a job.

89. DE Alex Barrett (High: 79, Low: 90)

Alex Barrett was one of Detroit’s undrafted free agent signings back in May. Coming out of San Diego State, Barrett has a long learning curve to make it in the NFL. The Lions are in need of good pass rushing depth, and Barrett graded out pretty well according to Pro Football Focus, but he still is a longshot to make the roster.

88. CB Desmond Lawrence (High: 82, Low: 88)

Desmond Lawrence was also an undrafted free agent this year, coming out of North Carolina. Lawrence was a three-year starter for the Tarheels. In his senior year, he had 10 pass breakups, second-most on the team. But Detroit already has a ton of competition at the cornerback position.

87. TE Brandon Barnes (High: 74, Low: 90)

Another 2017 UDFA, Barnes is a big-bodied tight end out of Alabama State. Barnes’ college career didn’t feature gaudy stats—just 13 catches for 199 yards—but at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, he has the right body frame for a professional career.

86. CB Josh Thornton (High: 81, Low: 88)

This may surprise you, but Josh Thornton is also a UDFA. Like Miles Killebrew a year before him, Thornton was plucked by the Lions from the tiny school of Southern Utah. Thornton had two interceptions in 2015, and upped it to three in his last year at Southern Utah.

85. WR Noel Thomas (High: 80, Low: 85)

Continuing the UDFA streak is receiver Noel Thomas out of UConn. Thomas is a versatile player who is probably best suited as a slot receiver. In his senior year, Thomas really put up some impressive stats, hauling in 100 catches for 1180 yards and three touchdowns.

84. TE Robert Tonyan (High: 72, Low: 89)

Yep, another UDFA. Tonyan hails Indiana State, and was a decent standout at his pro day:

Considering his athleticism and his potential, there’s a non-zero chance he could sneak onto the roster if the team decides to carry a fourth tight end, but he’s more likely to land on the practice squad this year.

83. WR Dontez Ford (High: 75, Low: 86)

Last week we saw Dontez Ford lay down a track at Detroit’s famous Motown Studios, but he’ll have to really impress on the practice field to figure out a way onto Detroit’s roster. At Pitt, Ford enjoyed a modest career, catching 46 passes for 843 yards and five touchdowns in 23 total games.

82. RB Tion Green (High: 73, Low: 89)

Green was one of the most intriguing UDFA signing for the Lions. Many thought Detroit would draft a running back this year, but it turns out Green was the only tailback added during draft week. Green is the physical, tough runner that Detroit’s roster needed. In his junior year, Green’s physical running style accounted for 729 yards (4.8 YPC) and eight touchdowns for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Of all these UDFAs, Green may have the easiest path to the final 53 with Detroit’s lack of a pure power runner, but he still has a very steep uphill climb.

81. S Rolan Milligan (High: 76, Low: 85)

By this list’s standards, Milligan is a veteran. He went undrafted in 2016 before getting picked up by the Cowboys. He didn’t end up making their roster nor their practice squad, but Detroit saw enough in him to snag him up in February. Milligan split his college career between UAB and Toledo. In his senior year with the Rockets, Milligan managed 48 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.