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2021 Detroit Lions awards: Breakout Player of the Year

Vote on your nominee for Detroit Lions Breakout Player of the year.

Detroit Lions v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

On Saturday, the NFL will announce its postseason awards with their NFL Honors event before Sunday’s Super Bowl.

But we here at Pride of Detroit are all about upstaging the NFL. We consider ourselves the Undercutters Pizza of NFL content. So starting today, we are rolling out our nominees and picks for the Detroit Lions 2021 awards.

This year, we’re doing things a little differently. Rather than having a nomination period, our staff will weigh in with their picks, and then you, the reader, will get to vote on your choice. By the time we’ve run through each category, we’ll announce the winners as chosen by Lions fans.

Here are the 10 categories for the awards:

  • MVP
  • Offensive Player of the Year
  • Defensive Player of the Year
  • Special Teams Player of the Year
  • Rookie of the Year
  • Breakout Player of the Year
  • Game of the Year
  • Play of the Year
  • Coach of the Year
  • Pride of Detroit Moment of the Year

We kick off the series with...

2021 Detroit Lions Breakout Player of the Year

John Whiticar: Evan Brown

Charles Harris turned into one of the best players on defense, but my nod for Breakout Player is Evan Brown. Brown had zero expectations entering the season and was probably regarded as the 50th-best player on the 53-man roster. When Frank Ragnow got hurt, it seemed like a disaster for the Lions. Instead, Brown was a hidden gem on offense. The offense hardly skipped a beat with Brown at center, and he is looking like a great backup to have entering next year.

Jeremy: Charles Harris

Personally, I don’t think rookies should count as a breakout candidate, seeing as this is their first year and they get their own category. Breaking out is all about taking a huge step in your career and blowing expectations out of the water. That makes this choice fairly easy for me. In 2021, Charles Harris went from consensus bust to an above-average NFL edge defender. Finished sixth in ESPN’s run stop win rate and doubled his career sacks with 7.5. That’s a breakout, my friends.

Mike Payton: Amon-Ra St. Brown

There was nothing more fun than watching the rise of Amon-Ra St. Brown. The rookie went from a guy you barely realized was out there to a guy that started smashing Lions receiving records and put the offense on his back.

Morgan Cannon: Jerry Jacobs

I’d be surprised if this wasn’t a consensus pick among the Pride of Detroit staff. Jacobs came out of nowhere, thrust into regular season action after injuries decimated the Lions’ secondary. Jacobs plays cornerback in a physical and in-your-face manner. And before a knee injury ended his season prematurely, he was one of my favorite players to watch on a weekly basis. Not bad for an undrafted guy who was playing junior college football not that long ago.

Hamza Baccouche: Charles Harris

This guy was probably one more bad camp performance from potentially being out of the league, but the former first-rounder was Detroit’s best pass rusher all season. He’s earned himself a payday whether in Detroit or somewhere else, and props to him and to the Lions coaching staff for getting Harris’ career on track.

Erik Schlitt: Jerry Jacobs

Is there is a better feel-good story this year than the rise of Jerry Jacobs? An incredibly hard worker, Jacobs latched himself onto the hips of starters Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye in training camp, and absorbed as much information as possible on his way to earning not only a roster spot but a starting role in Week 5. The future is bright for the budding star, and with more time training under Aaron Glenn (hopefully) and Aubrey Pleasant, he has the potential to be an important player for the Lions in the future.

Chris Perfett: Amon-Ra St. Brown


Ryan Mathews: Jerry Jacobs

Another category Amon-Ra St. Brown is certainly worthy of winning, and even Charles Harris as well, but I like to spread the wealth. An undrafted free agent who surprised nearly everyone when he was included on the initial 53-man roster, Jerry Jacobs stepped up in a big way when the team needed a cornerback No. 2 after both Jeff Okudah and Ifeatu Melifonwu were sidelined with injuries two weeks into the season. Jacobs went toe-to-toe with a number of receivers, but his performance against Ja’Marr Chase in Week 6—and yeah, he did give up 97 receiving yards, but only four catches—was as impressive as any cornerback’s play this season against the league’s likely Offensive Rookie of the Year.


Who is the Lions’ Breakout Player of the Year

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Evan Brown
    (183 votes)
  • 26%
    Charles Harris
    (695 votes)
  • 28%
    Amon-Ra St. Brown
    (733 votes)
  • 23%
    Jerry Jacobs
    (608 votes)
  • 13%
    Amani Oruwariye
    (349 votes)
  • 0%
    (18 votes)
2586 votes total Vote Now

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