Detroit Lions: Harsh reality check about expectations for 2020

Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

NFL Top 100 Players: Forgetting anyone?

Another recent list making the rounds is Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) with his annual ‘Top 100 NFL Players’, which is equally unkind to the Lions as Barnwell’s offseason rankings. Along with the Dolphins and Redskins, the Lions are one of only three teams without a single player represented.

The Packers, starting with Aaron Rodgers at number ten, have seven players included on this list. The Vikings have more than their share of players represented as well, with five total.

Khalil Mack is the only Chicago Bear to make the list, but he’s still considered the ninth best player in the league, even after a slight down year. For what it’s worth, ex-Lion and three time Pro Bowler Darius Slay is ranked No. 96, now with the Eagles after the controversial trade in the spring.

It’s sad to say, but there aren’t too many current Lions that you can even make a decent for based on last season. Trey Flowers finished the year much better than he started, but his biggest snapshot from 2019 in the minds of many will remain the two ridiculous phantom illegal hands to the face penalties that handed away the Monday Night Packers game in October.

Kenny Golladay is probably the biggest snub, seeing fellow receivers from the 2017 draft, Chris Godwin (#29) and Cooper Kupp (#97), added in front of him despite Golladay leading the league in touchdown catches and coming off back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons.

Reason for hope: Golladay is massively underrated, and as a lightly regarded player coming out of college, one who’s been a late bloomer of sorts, that’s probably just how it’s going to be. As long as he keeps improving and building off the type of performance we’ve seen to begin his career, I’m fine with him remaining a secret outside of Detroit.

There are ten quarterbacks on this Top 100 list, and without the injury that robbed the second half of one of his best seasons, I have to think Matthew Stafford would fall somewhere in the middle of that group of ten. Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan, and Kirk Cousins are all in there, guys that Stafford would have every right to consider his peers at this point.

The Detroit Lions top 10 plays of the past decade. dark. Next

Whether they’re highly thought of nationally or not, Golladay, Stafford, and Flowers could all make a case for inclusion on next year’s list by performing to their standard this season, with dark horse possibilities for T.J. Hockenson and Jeff Okudah as well if they live up to their lofty expectations. The cupboard of talent in Detroit isn’t nearly as bare as this list suggests.