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Notes: Detroit Lions snubbed in PFF’s Top 50 Players for 2023

Say what? None?

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2023 NFL Pro Bowl Games Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

We like to joke (grouse?) about how the Detroit Lions fail to garner proper respect from national outlets, but here’s a list that raises some questions with regards to consistency in methodology. Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson posted an article on Friday of the PFF50, or their top 50 players in the league regardless of position. There were no Detroit Lions players on the entire list.

This is interesting, because there is at least one obvious candidate who would seem to warrant consideration for inclusion. For the 2022 season, the second-rated wide receiver in PFF’s position rankings was Pro Bowl wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown. The PFF50 list has eight wide receivers on it, meaning St. Brown is ninth at best among receivers in the ranking scheme that produced the PFF50.

Other players who might have been considered are the two Pro Bowl offensive linemen on the Lions, tackle Penei Sewell and center Frank Ragnow. In the case of Sewell, there were five tackles on the list ahead of him, and most actually do make a lot of sense. For the most part, the ones Monson placed on the PFF50 list lines up with tackle rankings Gordon McGuinness wrote up on their service a few months ago. Monson seems to like Tristan Wirfs a bit more, but in general Sewell is consistently placed in a second tier of tackles by analysts below the ones that made Monson’s list.

As for Ragnow, there were only two centers on Monson’s list and they are basically the consensus top two centers in the league: Kansas City’s Creed Humphrey and Philadelphia’s Jason Kelce. Our favorite fishing grizzly man is outstanding, but he is coming off an injury and potentially rating him third behind Humphrey and Kelce seems fair.

On defense, it’s hard to argue any Lions should warrant inclusion at the highest echelons so that makes a lot of sense. While there are some great young pass rushers and some fabulous defensive backs who just arrived in free agency, there are no dominant players (yet) who can take over games for the defense like we used to have in the prime Ndamukong Suh days. It’s with the offense that you have to wonder: do the Lions really have no players deserving of inclusion in the top 50? Not even the Sun God? How many will make the NFL’s Top 100 (which kicks off on Monday with 91-100)?

You can chew on the whole PFF50 list over at Pro Football Reference’s site in Monson’s article. We now move on to the rest of your weekend Notes:

  • Speaking of disrespect, we like Pro Fooball Network’s Arif Hasan but he put the Lions down at 17th in his offensive unit rankings for 2023 because “they relied on unsustainable methods of production, which included dependency on yards after the catch and explosive non-QB runs.” I suppose Ben Johnson scheming Amon-Ra St. Brown, Sam LaPorta, and JaMo into space might not work this year, and Jahmyr Gibbs plus David Montgomery might be less explosive than Swift and Williams? Maybe? Hasan concedes at the end that “it’s always possible that they produce in the same way again.”

  • Fox 2 has a Lions training camp special airing on Sunday night:

  • A quick note on injury recovery progress for two players:

  • Presented without additional commentary:

  • Congratulations to linebacker Derrick Barnes and his wife Kylie:

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