3 Detroit Lions players who could be nice surprises in 2024

As the Detroit Lions look to take their next step next season, these three players could be surprisingly impactful.

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1. WR Donovan Peoples-Jones

When the news came they had re-signed him, the report from Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report noted how the Lions prioritized keeping Peoples-Jones and believe he is a "rising player."

It's always a challenge for a mid-season acquisition to make a big impact, so those cards were stacked against Peoples-Jones from the moment the Lions acquired him from the Cleveland Browns as last season's trade deadline. In the midst of a run to the division title and more, there just wasn't room to give him a lot runway (i.e. playing time) to learn a new offense and get fully integrated with new teammates.

At the league meetings last week, Campbell talked about the obvious benefit Peoples-Jones will get from having a full offseason, and how he may bring something a little different to the table than anyone else the Lions have.

"He’ll have a better understanding of what we’re doing (when) we go into camp,” Campbell said. “And so I think what it does it just gives us somebody that we know can play the position. He’s a bigger-body guy, too, so he’s a little different than anybody we’ve got.”

Peoples-Jones showed promise as a big play threat over the first two seasons of his career with the Browns, averaging 21.7 and 17.6 yards per catch respectively. Then he had a proverbial third-year breakout in 2022, setting clear career-highs in catches (61) and receiving yards (839). Before he was traded by the Browns last season, he played a lot but lacked production (eight receptions in seven games).

With Josh Reynolds gone, Peoples-Jones is currently the man lined up to step in as the Lions' No. 3 wide receiver. A veteran addition and/or an early draft pick would change that equation, of course, but the opportunity is front of him until something does change.

If a big role is lined up for him come Week 1, Peoples-Jones won't have to catch 60 passes to be impactful. As a bigger-bodied receiver who is a downfield threat and seems to have untapped potential as a red zone weapon, a potentially surprising contributor for the Lions lurks here.


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