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Ranking every player on the Detroit Lions 2023 roster: 40-31

Our 2023 Detroit Lions roster countdown continues with players 40-31—key depth in many places.

NFL: Detroit Lions at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Our rankings of the entire Detroit Lions 91-man roster is now into the meat and potatoes of the team. We’re into the 30s and most of these players, we expect, will at least have a rotational role with the team, some potentially much more.

It’s an interesting list of players, because in previous years, we may expect these guys to crack the top-20. It’s an indication that the Lions’ roster not only runs deeper than it did in previous years, but they’re actually starting to build a nice pool of top-end talent—something they’ve been missing for at least a decade.

Without further ado, here are the players our staff ranked 40-31 on the Lions 2023 roster.

Previously:

Reminder: This list is based on the average of eight different Pride of Detroit staff members’ individual lists.

40. DT Brodric Martin (High: 38; Low: 50)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Martin was one of the Lions’ third-round picks this year, and while he’s expected to immediately have a role on defense, it remains to be seen how quickly he’ll be able to adapt to the NFL level of play. Having played at Northern Alabama and Western Kentucky in college, there will be a talent shock, but Martin’s massive size gives him fighting chance to start with a bang.

39. QB Hendon Hooker (High: 31; Low: 60)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

The other third-round pick from the Lions, expectations for Hooker are all over the place—hence the wide range of rankings for him. At the moment, Hooker is at the beginning of what could be a long developmental curve while also still rehabbing from a torn ACL, so it’s understandable why he barely cracked the top 40. On the other hand, Hooker’s ceiling could be as high as a starting franchise quarterback. We’re a long way from that, though, and we’re not likely to find much out about his game in 2023 either, as he may spend most of it sidelined with the Lions afforded the opportunity to be patient as he rehabs and learns.

38. CB Will Harris (High: 35; Low: 43)

Last year’s ranking: 38

Harris has gotten a bad rap over the year by fans for failure to stick at a specific position, but throughout the years, coaches have unanimously sung his praises. Harris is basically a positionless player at this point, capable of playing any position in the defensive backfield. Having a “jack of all trades, master of none” player certainly has value, even if Harris may never be a full-time defensive contributor.

37. LB Derrick Barnes (High: 32 Low: 39)

Last year’s ranking: 33

Offseason hype for Barnes is high, but our staff isn’t quite buying into it yet. Barnes falls a few spots after being overshadowed by Malcolm Rodriguez last year. But in Year 3 of his linebacker development, a jump in production is certainly possible, especially since he’s still relatively new to the position.

The problem for Barnes, though, may be that there isn’t an opportunity where there was last year. With the drafting of Jack Campbell and re-signing of Alex Anzalone, it’s a matter of when, not if, Barnes will be in more of a rotational role.

36. TE James Mitchell (High: 31; Low: 39)

Last year’s ranking: 42

Mitchell is another player who has been getting some offseason hype simply for being another year removed from the torn ACL suffered in college that limited his rookie season. That said, like Barnes, he’ll have to fight off a highly-drafted rookie (Sam LaPorta) for some playing time. We didn’t get to see much of Mitchell in the spring due to another injury, but it’s not expected to stop him in camp.

35. EDGE Josh Paschal (High: 28; Low: 51)

Last year’s ranking: 23

Continuing the trend of draft picks who haven’t quite shown their full potential yet, Paschal—Detroit’s second-round pick last year—saw his rookie season shortened by injury. Paschal’s been a bit overlooked in the defensive room after great rookie seasons from Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston, but Paschal should get more opportunities in 2023, which gives him the potential to jump back up these rankings after a fall this year.

34. TE Brock Wright (High: 29; Low: 38)

Last year’s ranking: 49

In three years, Brock Wright has gone from 69 to 49 to 34 in these rankings. It’s a testament to Wright’s gritty personality and reliability. By no means is Wright an elite blocking tight end, but he’s rarely a liability and even brings some receiving chops when necessary.

33. WR Marvin Jones Jr. (High: 24; Low: 36)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

At 34 years old, Jones’ best days are likely behind him, but he can still be a pretty darn productive player in this league. Even in a pretty stacked Jaguars receiving room, Jones managed to catch 46 balls for 529 yard and three touchdowns. That would have ranked third on the Lions last year.

Jones will likely play a significant role early on during Jameson Williams’ suspension, but don’t be surprised if he is still an important player in December and beyond.

32. G Graham Glasgow (High: 27; Low: 35)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

In case you’re curious, when Glasgow was last on the Lions (2019), he came in 11th on our list. A lot has obviously changed since then. Detroit did not retain him in free agency the next year, and Glasgow battled injury and inconsistent play in Denver for the next three years.

He returns to Detroit battling for a starting job, but at the very least, he should provide the Lions with some reassurance in their offensive line depth.

31. LB Malcolm Rodriguez (High: 27; Low: 34)

Last year’s ranking: 45

In year’s past, a player like Rodriguez likely would have jumped into the top 20 after the rookie season he had. But while his season was certainly way above expectations for a sixth-round pick, it was far from perfect. Rodriguez has great football instincts and body leverage skills to compensate for some size deficiencies. But he still went through some rookie lumps when it came to coverage.

With the addition of Campbell, Rodriguez is almost certainly headed for a rotational role in 2023, but he’s also the kind of player you know could make a big impact on special teams.

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