FanPost

The 5 Most Impressive and Disappointing Detroit Lions in 2023


With the 2023 season rapidly coming to an end, I think it's safe to assume things about the franchise. By this point, little change occurs outside injuries, coaches getting fired, or a rookie steps up.

I think it's time to look back and lock in the five most impressive Lions and the five most disappointing Lions when compared to the expectations widely placed on them. As per usual, these are just my opinions. Let's begin.

IMPRESSIVE: Sam LaPorta, TE

I was not happy when the Lions took LaPorta 34th overall in this year's draft. The day prior, they'd reached on Jahmyr Gibbs and Jack Campbell in the 1st round of the draft. Sam seemed to be icing on the cake.

With a month left to go in the season, LaPorta looks like anything but a rookie, placing top 3 in a handful of statistical categories amongst all tight ends. He's unanimously a top rookie in the league and has made the Lions faithful forget they even missed TJ Hockenson. Needing an average of 65 yards per game for the remainder of the season, LaPorta can break the tight-end rookie receiving record. He's four touchdowns away from double-digits too.

DISAPPOINTING: Jerry Jacobs, CB

We knew there was a good chance Jacobs wasn't cut to be the CB2 on a team coming into the season. We knew that not addressing outside cornerback could come back to haunt us (banking on Emmanuel Mosely coming off season-ending ACL surgery was a dangerous gamble at the time.)

It seems as though every time we look up, Jacobs is getting picked on in coverage. Sporting an average 59 PFF score paired with zero interceptions since the first game of October, Jacobs has fizzled out in the heat of the season. It'll be interesting to see what happens in the offseason, given that it's a contract year for him. Can Brad Holmes really ignore the position again?

IMPRESSIVE: Jahmyr Gibbs, RB

Another rookie this season, Gibbs has been a big-play threat from the moment his number got called. Totaling just under 900 yards from scrimmage through 12 games, Gibbs has been a consistent threat both on the ground and through the air. He's averaging over 5 yards per carry.

It can't be forgotten that Gibbs posted those stats while missing two games to injury and has had half of his games end with 8 or fewer carries. When he gets a heavier load of carries, the offense could open up even further.

DISAPPOINTING: Brodric Martin, DT

I thought this pick was a solid one back in April. But in mid-December, the 3rd round pick hasn't gotten any time outside of a single game back in October. You may ask, ‘How can he be disappointing if he hasn't gotten any playing time?'

The Lions used a trio of picks to trade up and select Martin, so Holmes and company clearly saw something in the WKU product. If there's resorting to signing other players while ignoring their day 2 selection, something is wrong. One tackle at this point in the year is baffling.

QUICK HITS

IMPRESSIVE

Penei Sewell, OT - I don't think there's much doubt that Sewell is the heartbeat of the offense. Sporting a 90.0 PFF grade and having allowed just one sack all season, Penei is in line for a monstrous extension down the road.

Alex Anzalone, LB - His improvement from year-to-year while in the Motor City has been remarkable. A trio of sacks, top 25 in solo tackles and a 76.6 PFF grade is solid work for Thor. I didn't see this level of rise coming from him.

Alim McNeill, DT - While number 54 just ended up on IR this past week, it's undeniable that he's become a core piece of the defensive line. He's sporting an elite grade on PFF (88.1), five sacks and a forced fumble as a primarily-run stuffing defensive tackle.

DISAPPOINTING

Kerby Joseph - Don't get me wrong, he's still a core piece of the defense. However, with the development we saw last season as a rookie, I'm sure a lot of people thought we'd see him take the next step. It looks like the only step he's taken has been backwards; his missed tackles are going up, and he seems to be a step behind in coverage more often than not.

Essentially all Defensive Linemen - Outside of Hutchinson and McNeill, it's been pure disappointment on the defensive front. Paschal looks like a solid run defender at best; the former 2nd round pick has 0 sacks. Onwuzurike looks bound to get cut. The Okwara brothers and Charles Harris look destined to hit free agency with poor performances in tow. Old reliables like Isaiah Buggs and John Cominsky have been invisible. It's been flat-out depressing.

Aaron Glenn - The obvious suspect. If you couldn't tell, all the impressive players come from one side of the ball... AKA, the side that continues to carry them week after week. I know injuries to key players like CJGJ, James Houston, Emmanuel Mosely and Alex Anzalone haven't helped. But seriously; after this long at the helm of defensive coordinator, when is true change actually coming?

I know I haven't been very evenly split in this post, so give me your thoughts; who's been the most disappointing offensive player, and the most impressive defensive player? Let me know.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.