In Thursday’s Notes, we mentioned an article by CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso that named 12 young players (under 26) he considers to be underrated that will be valuable for rebuilding teams in 2022. Besides age, the other qualifier the author put on his list was that it included no players drafted in the first or second round. Two Detroit Lions show up here, and the first is none other than December’s Offensive Rookie of the Month Amon-Ra St. Brown. Does that put a damper on whether St. Brown is still underrated? Perhaps.
The second Detroit Lion named by Trapasso might surprise even fans of the team. It’s a very young cornerback who unfortunately landed on injured reserve this season. Can you guess who it is? That description is written to be deliberately vague, which is the point. It could actually be any one of a number of cornerbacks on the Lions’ roster: Jerry Jacobs, Amani Oruwariye, AJ Parker, or Ifeatu Melifonwu. The only reason you could be sure it is not Jeff Okudah is that Trapasso ruled out early draft picks. Check out the article to see which one made the dozen along with the Sun God.
There is actually quite a bit of good content on the young secondary players for the Lions this week. Slot defender AJ Parker was the exclusive interview guest for Fox 2’s Dan Miller, and the video for that can be seen on the station’s web page. A bunch of the beat writers including the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett and MLive’s Ben Raven were interested in the same thing that our own fearless leader Jeremy Reisman wants to know: what will we see from Ifeatu Melifonwu in these last two games?
While the 2021 season has been a brutal one in terms of wins and losses, it looks like the team has a bunch of fun youngsters to watch in the coming years. Aside from the defensive backs and St. Brown, there’s a pair of promising defensive tackles and a kicker who just won an NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award. Then we have the ones who weren’t eligible for Trapasso’s list like former first-round pick (and already 26-years old) Charles Harris, who the team managed to unleash this year. Of course there are also the obvious names on offense like Penei Sewell, D’Andre Swift, and T.J. Hockenson. The Lions aren’t quite there yet, but the talent is accumulating and the coaching staff is showing us an exciting brand of football in their first year together.
Now on to the rest of this weekend’s Notes:
- Lions Creative Director Ashley Strauss was profiled in the latest episode of the Women in Football series from the team:
- The COVID obstacles keep accumulating for the Lions. According to Tim Twentyman, “Lions DB Coach/Pass Game Coordinator Aubrey Pleasant is currently unavailable to coach in Sunday’s game against Seattle due to COVID-19 protocols.”
- It is former Detroit linebacker Stephen Tulloch’s birthday.
- Running back D’Andre Swift was interviewed for the second episode of “It’s on the Flo,” a web series produced for the Detroit Pistons. Host Kevin Irwin II delves into Swift’s experiences growing up in Philadelphia, early influences, fashion and “the Swift chain,” plus basketball of course. Swift said Detroit as a place feels similar to him to Philadelphia, that he thinks they’re up-and-coming cities. Near the end of the seven-minute video, the former Georgia Bulldog gets on the court to take some shots in LCA.
- Rookie defensive tackle Alim McNeill and head coach Dan Campbell were on this week’s One Pridecast with Dannie Rogers and Mike O’Hara. McNeill was also a featured guest on Lions Game Plan.
- There are no former Lions on the list of 15 Modern-era player finalists for the 2022 class, but one candidate had a role in one of the most infamous Detroit Lions plays of the last 15 years.
- Adequate host Chris Perfett posted the fine numbers our site’s PODcast rang up in 2021:
Excuse the thread.— Chris Perfett (@chrisperfett) December 31, 2021
Here's how 2021 has treated us here on the @PrideOfDetroit PODcast:
- 1.2 million downloads this year
- 27k - 30k unique listeners each month
- over $20,000 raised for charity during Movember
- Partnered on Twitch
- 4.9 rating on Spotify pic.twitter.com/Qib2UdQf7H
- If you think the team needs more depth at tight end (hint: you should), MLive’s Ben Raven has you covered. In the latest article in his position-by-position look at prospects of interest to the Detroit Lions, Raven put the spotlight on five collegiate tight ends that Lions fans ought to know.
- Here’s a really cool factoid about JRM:
With less than 5:00 minutes to play in regulation, @Lions LB @ReevesMaybin has twice forced a fumble for a Detroit recovery. He is the only NFL player since at least 2000 to force 2 fumbles when his team is within one score in the last five minutes of a game. pic.twitter.com/7kBhTlDge6— Detroit Lions PR (@LionsPR) December 31, 2021