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Ranking every player on the 2023 Detroit Lions: Players 20-11

Our rankings of the entire 2023 Detroit Lions roster continues with the top 20.

NFL: SEP 25 Lions at Vikings Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’ve reached the final 20 players on our countdown of every player on the Detroit Lions 2023 roster. These players will play essential roles this year, and it’s fascinating to take an overall look at where these players came from.

On our list of players ranked 20-11, here’s a breakdown of how and when the Lions acquired them:

  • Six of the 10 were drafted by the team
  • Four of the 10 were added this offseason
  • Eight of the 10 were acquired by this current regime
  • Three of the 10 players were ranked in the top 10 last year
  • Two of the 10 were outside the top 30 last year

Let’s jump into the last bit of the countdown before we announce the top 10 players.


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

20. TE Sam LaPorta (High: 17; Low: 24)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

LaPorta was the team’s third draft pick this year, but he’s the second-highest on these rankings. After a strong spring, LaPorta is making people question whether he’ll hit the rookie wall that almost every first-year tight end hits.

19. EDGE James Houston (High: 15; Low: 31)

Last year’s ranking: 51

Houston takes one of the biggest jumps in this year’s list, going from roster bubble player in 2022 (who didn’t make the original 53-man roster) to now being considered one of the team’s biggest defensive weapons. In just seven games played, Houston produced 17 pressures, 8.0 sacks, and a whopping 88.2 pass rush grade.

But there are still some serious questions about his ability to become a three-down player, and he needs to grow into other SAM linebacker duties like dropping into coverage. That has him still contesting for playing time with the likes of Charles Harris and Julian Okwara.

18. LB Alex Anzalone (High: 16; Low: 23)

Last year’s ranking: 37

Anzalone jumps almost 20 spots this year after a big bounceback year in 2022. With a better supporting cast around him—including a better defensive front and more reliable linebackers—Anzalone looked more decisive and improved his tackling. Even with the addition of first-round pick Jack Campbell, Anzalone is still expected to be the brains of the operation on defense. He’ll also be a phenomenal mentor to Campbell, which is an essential role when Detroit invested so much in that player.

17. CB Emmanuel Moseley (High: 13 Low: 23)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Despite the latest news that Moseley will spend more time on the Physically Unable to Perform list than originally believes, the veteran cornerback could still turn out to be one of the team’s most important free agent additions. Here’s what 49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco told us about Moseley during an interview shortly after his signing.

He’s just a really good player,” Maiocco said. “I was expecting him to really cash in and probably be the most sought-after cornerback on the free agent market had he made it through this past season injury-free.”

16. S Tracy Walker (High: 13; Low: 23)

Last year’s ranking: 8

Walker slides a little in our countdown after suffering an Achilles injury last season. It’s hard to know what to expect out of Walker this year. On one hand, the year after a debilitating injury like this is bound to have its trials and tribulations. On the other hand, Walker has shown incredible recovery speed and is a full go at training camp.

Even still, Walker has a lot to prove as an NFL player. He’s shown flashes of being a great player, but he’s yet to really show that kind of consistency for a full season.

15. RB David Montgomery (High: 12; Low: 18)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Montgomery was a solid running back in Chicago for the past four years, but suddenly his expectations are much higher. Now running behind what many considered to be one of the best offensive lines in football, Montgomery is expected to shoulder the load on offense when it comes to the dirty work between the tackles. He’s gifted when it comes to breaking tackles, and that could be a huge benefit to a Lions team that occasionally struggled in short-yardage situations—even when Jamaal Williams was playing at his peak.

14. WR Jameson Williams (High: 12; Low: 19)

Last year’s ranking: 6

Expectations remain very high for Jamo, the 12th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft. However, the pressure is now very high. After only catching a single pass in his injury-shortened rookie season, Williams will now miss the first six games of the 2023 season due to a suspension. In order for the Lions to have not burned the first two years of a first-round rookie contract, Williams will need to come out and produce right away.

13. P Jack Fox (High: 5; Low: 21)

Last year’s ranking: 10

For the first time in three years, there are no special teamers in the Lions top 10. That’s not a knock on Fox, who remains one of the best and most reliable punters in football. That’s, instead, an indication that Detroit’s roster is improving to the point where a punter is no longer one of the most talented players on the team.

P.S. — I’ll give you one guess who ranked Jack Fox as the fifth-best player on the team. You won’t need a second guess.

12. RB Jahmyr Gibbs (High: 7; Low: 26)

Last year’s ranking: N/A

Peter Schrager thinks Jahmyr Gibbs is going to take the NFL by storm, and it’s hard to disagree with him. The Lions clearly have big plans for Gibbs, and that’s abundantly clear when you see that the running back is spending loads of time working with the receivers. I maintain that 70-80 catches are not out of the question for the rookie, not to mention his home run hitting abilities in the run game.

11. DT Alim McNeill (High: 9; Low: 14)

Last year’s ranking: 15

Last year, McNeill had a ton of hype to take a big Year 2 jump. It didn’t quite happen, but that hype is even larger this year. McNeill has transformed his body, taken on a leadership role, and now has some proof of concept after a few dominating games in 2022. If he can reach his true potential in 2023, don’t be surprised to see him climb into the top 10 of next year’s list.

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