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Notes: Detroit Lions land 4 on The Athletic’s All-Rookie team

The Athletic released their 2023 NFL All-Rookie team and the Detroit Lions had four players make the cut.

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Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Just like they have all season, the Detroit Lions’ 2023 rookie class is making noise—this time by having four players named to The Athletic’s All-Rookie team.

Running back Jahmyr Gibbs, tight end Sam LaPorta, linebacker Jack Campbell, and defensive back Brian Branch all made the list compiled by the Athletic’s NFL staff. All four have made huge plays on the field for the Lions in their rookie season, and have been essential to the playoff push as well.

I wonder how many people are bashing Lions’ general manager Brad Holmes and his draft picks now? Not so many? Interesting. Just kidding. Even I whined a bit about “positional value” for the first 24-48 hours after the draft. However, after another really impressive draft class from Holmes, the lesson has been learned.

You can check out the entire list of rookies here, but for now, here’s a taste of what the Athletic had to say about a few of the Lions rookies.


“I’ll admit to having been wrong about what Gibbs was capable of in his rookie campaign,” Diante Lee wrote. “He accumulated more than 230 touches and 1,200 yards of total offense, an impressive workload for an undersized back. He’s still a boom/bust kind of back, but his change of pace has fueled Detroit’s explosive run game.”


“The 2023 draft featured one of the best TE groups we’ve seen in years. In the end, it was LaPorta alone out front,” Nick Baumgardner wrote. “He set the NFL record for receptions by a rookie TE (86) and was a perfect fit as a blocker in Detroit’s run game. The best part about his game is that he’s a unique blend of every standout Iowa tight end of recent memory: great route runner, great blocker, great hands, great in space.”


“Branch started red hot for the Lions before cooling off a bit due to injury, but he rebounded to finish strong,” Baumgardner continued. “By the end of the regular season, the rookie from Alabama had emerged as one of the league’s most impactful slot corners. He allowed just .96 yards per snap in the slot.”

And now, onto the rest of today’s notes:

  • Lions’ center Frank Ragnow is among the finalists for the NFLPA Alan Page Community Award.

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