A couple of Detroit Lions may have finally earned the respect of their peers, but they still have a ways to go to impress some NFL analyzers. Darius Slay (49) and Matthew Stafford (31) made it on the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2018 list, which is based on player votes. However both, and everyone else on the Lions’ roster, were shut out by Pro Football Focus’ Top 50 Players of 2018 list.
The list, which features players from 23 different teams, contains players from all but four NFC teams: the Lions, the Bears, the Buccaneers and the Cardinals.
It’s a bit surprising to see the Lions shut out from the list considering how highly rated some of their players were last year. Golden Tate was the seventh-highest rated wide receiver in the league, Glover Quin rated fourth among safeties, and Darius Slay and Rick Wagner both came in at 11th at their respective positions.
But some surprising names came in ahead of all three of those players. Instead of Darius Slay, PFF chose Bengals cornerback William Jackson III (42), Jaguars A.J. Bouye (41), Saints Marshon Lattimore (32), and Bills Tre’Davious White (31) among a few others.
The odds were stacked against both Quin and Wagner, as only three safeties and offensive tackles made PFF’s list. Instead of Glover Quin, the analytics website went with Earl Thomas (22), Landon Collins (18) and Harrison Smith (15). Had the list made room for a fourth safety, there’s a good chance it would’ve been Quin, who forced a career-high seven turnovers in 2017, while adding 84 tackles to his name.
Of course, donning this list means little-to-nothing in the grand scheme of things. While the other teams that don’t have anyone on the list (Jets, Browns, Colts) aren’t exactly good company to keep, this is ultimately a subjective list that is prone to inherent biases, no matter how hard they try to make their observations objective.
There’s little doubt the Lions have talented players on their roster, and with the right coaching, maybe they’ll be named to meaningless lists like this in 2019.