The two expected Detroit Lions make PFF’s top-25 players under 25

(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images) /

It’s no surprise the Detroit Lions have two of Pro Football Focus’ top-25 NFL players under the age of 25 for 2023.

In the down time of May, it’s officially list season for outlets who cover the NFL. Around this time each year, Pro Football Focus comes out with a list of their 25 best players under the age of 25. Last year, somehow, the Detroit Lions top-two young players were snubbed from the list.

Well I suppose they weren’t completely snubbed. Right tackle Penei Sewell did get an honorable mention, after becoming one of the best at his position as a rookie in 2021. But wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown did not even garner that kind of mention.

Sewell and St. Brown followed by putting together excellent second seasons last year, each earning a Pro Bowl selection for their work. That the Lions finished the season as one of the hottest teams in the NFL and had an above .500 record surely helps them to get more attention.

Penei Sewell and Amon-Ra St. Brown both land on PFF’s top-25 under 25 for 2023

This year, Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus has made things right on the “Top-25 Under 25” list. Sewell and St. Brown are on the list. In the top-20 even.

"13. OT PENEI SEWELL, DETROIT LIONSSewell has played more than 2,000 snaps on Detroit’s offensive line over the past two seasons and looks like an All-Pro in the making. He earned overall grades of 77.0 and 80.6 in those two campaigns. He also allowed fewer sacks (five to two) and fewer total pressures (35 to 28) from 2021 to 2022.17. WR AMON-RA ST. BROWN, DETROIT LIONSSt. Brown had one hell of a year in 2022. He recorded an elite 90.4 receiving grade after earning a 79.4 receiving grade as a rookie. His 544 receiving yards after the catch was near the top of the league, as he became more of a well-rounded receiver. He played 430 snaps in the slot and 341 snaps out wide, serving as the focal point of the Lions’ high-scoring passing attack. With offensive coordinator Ben Johnson returning, it could be another huge year for St. Brown."

Sikkema notes the improvement both Sewell and St. Brown had last season to fortify the case for them to be on the list, if the case needed much fortifying. They are clear-cut building blocks for the future in Detroit.

At their positions, Sewell is behind Tristan Wirfs (No. 3), Rashawn Slater (No. 8) and Andrew Thomas (No. 10) on the under-25 list among offensive tackles. At wide receiver, Justin Jefferson (No. 2), JaMarr Chase (No. 4), CeeDee Lamb (No. 9), Jaylen Waddle (No. 11), Tee Higgins (No. 14) and DeVonta Smith (No. 16) are ahead of St. Brown.

Were Sewell and St. Brown dissed again on this year’s PFF “under 25” list? The fourth-best qualifying offensive tackle, and the seventh-best qualifying wide receiver? St. Brown certainly has a case to at least be above Smith, and there’s a case for Sewell to be above Slater and Thomas.

But ultimately, it’s fine for the Lions’ best two young players, and perhaps their best two players period, to simply be on the top-25 under-25 list for 2023.

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