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Top Detroit Lions Players of 2018: 20-11

While not the stars of the team (yet), these are all potential difference makers.

Arizona Cardinals v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Just in time to get hyped up for training camp, we now get into the bigger names on the Detroit Lions roster. Some of these are established veterans, but many are younger players that the staff here at Pride of Detroit believe will be key contributors in the years to come.

To catch up on our Lions roster rankings, click the links below.

20. RB LeGarrette Blount (High: 12, Low: 23)

Our first top 20 entry is a newcomer who has not taken a snap yet for the Lions. This somewhat overlooked veteran enters the 2018 running back competition as the most recognizable pro name in the bunch. Our own Kyle Yost’s fantastic breakdown of running back workload for the upcoming season pointed out how limited pass-catching ability could keep Blount from being “the man,” but a huge share of the ground attack should still go his way.

19. LB Jarrad Davis (High: 11, Low: 22)

Last year: 19

After a tough rookie campaign, last year’s first-round pick at middle linebacker will get a chance to shine in the new Patricia/Pasqualoni system. Brian Philips from Pats Pulpit told our Mike Payton recently that “Davis absolutely showed signs of development down the stretch last season with his patience and gap integrity -- aspects that will be crucial in the Mayo/Hightower role.” Although there are “Big Play” leaders in the secondary further up our list of top Detroit Lions players, in many ways this is going to be Jarrad Davis’ defensive unit in 2018. Just pray the jersey curse exemption for gifted jerseys continues to hold.

18. DE Anthony Zettel (High: 12, Low: 26)

Last year: 46

Coming out of nowhere as a sixth-round name at the bottom of the depth chart, Zettel absolutely outperformed all expectations last year, building a strong case for a larger role in the upcoming season. While Lions fans everywhere hope the bane of trees continues to impress, it is hard to imagine him making such a massive jump in performance for a second straight year.

17. P Sam Martin (High: 9, Low: 24)

Last year: 7

The Punt God was sidelined until a late October game against the Steelers due to an offseason non-football related ankle injury, and never really got into a groove for the rest of the season. But this is a new year, and special teams coordinator Joe Marciano last month let it be known that Martin is back to form and “crushing the ball.” Handling punting, placekick holding, and kickoffs, this key component of the best special teams unit in the division is absolutely worth every penny.

16. RB Theo Riddick (High: 13, Low: 22)

Last year: 11

Although he is the best third-down back in the league, the consistently high ranking from our staff here is probably a combination of how Detroit played offense in the past and legacy Theo Riddick Hype Train effects. We all love Theo’s broken ankle highlights and disgusting one-on-one routes against linebackers, but will his value to the offense be the same in light of Bob Quinn’s commitment to establishing the run? Stay tuned.

15. G Frank Ragnow (High: 11, Low: 23)

It’s never a sure thing until the games start, but for now the mystery of where Ragnow will play along the line appears to be locked in at left guard. The former Razorback enters the league with some absurdly good career college numbers—in the SEC, mind you—which fuels the sky high expectations on the Pride of Detroit staff.

14. WR Kenny Golladay (High: 9, Low: 22)

Last year: 24

If anybody is not already a believer in Kenny G’s potential to help stretch the field, we here at Pride of Detroit are not quite sure who those unbelievers are. Our Justin Simon back in May laid out how the stage is set for Golladay to put up some nice numbers in 2018, and most of our readers agreed when we put up a poll. Somehow, he’s even managed to catch a couple of eyes in the national media.

13. DB Quandre Diggs (High: 13, Low: 17)

Last year: 37

Okay, we are going to take this opportunity to collectively admit we were all really, really dumb exactly one year ago when almost all of us thought Nino wasn’t going to make the 53-man roster in our pre-training camp bubble watch. As much as his teammates want to joke that folks aren’t rushing to buy Diggs’ jersey, it is clear the dude can play football.

12. C Graham Glasgow (High: 7, Low: 26)

Last year: 22

The decision to let Travis Swanson depart in free agency to the New York Jets was made easier by the strong 2017 season turned in by Glasgow at center. If he can maintain that high level of play into the new season, this master of impressions will go a long way toward fulfilling the lofty expectations for the offensive line as a whole.

11. DT A’Shawn Robinson (High: 10, Low: 18)

Last year: 15

Back in mid-June, Jeremy Reisman’s pick for the player most likely to take a big third-year jump was the teammate that Marvin Jones and Sam Martin think looks like Rick Ross. The new defensive scheme ought to be a great fit for Robinson at the nose, minimizing the need for him to generate pass rush while exploiting his size and athletic ability to control the middle. Whether moving the pile against the run or getting his hands up to clog passing lanes, our staff agreed A’Shawn will be a key piece on defense.

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