6 Detroit Lions players who could be first-time Pro Bowlers in 2024

These six Detroit Lions players could earn their first career Pro Bowl selection this year.
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 3

2. LB Alex Anzalone

Anzalone was once easy to tab as someone the Lions should (and should be able to) replace. But they had faith, and he was rewarded it with year-over-year improvement the last couple seasons.

Anzalone has had back-to-back seasons with at least 125 tackles, along with seven tackles for loss and six pass breakups in each campaign. That puts him in a rare category among off-ball linebackers who have hit those marks. Last year, he also set a career-high with three sacks and his PFF grades were very good across the board.

Improved and more experienced talent around him (DJ Reader, Jack Campbell) may free Anzalone up to be even more productive this year. A first career Pro Bowl selection is within the realm of possibility for him in his eighth NFL season.

1. DT Alim McNeill

McNeill is the obvious No. 1 here. The work he did to reshape his physique and add to his game during the 2023 offseason yielded a breakthrough season last year (five sacks, six tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits, PFF's No, 7 defensive tackle, with top-15 run defense and pass rush grades). He also missed four games late in the season due to a knee injury, so a next step is easy to forecast over a full 17 games this year.

The aforementioned addition of Reader stands to benefit McNeill more than anyone, on the field anyway. They are lined up to be one of the best defensive tackle tandems in the league, as Reader is a force all his own that did not exist next to McNeill last year.

As Mike Moraitis of Sporting News noted, the perennial NFC Pro Bowl roster for the last decade or so now has a Aaron Donald-sized void at defensive tackle. There's no better candidate to fill that void than McNeill, perhaps for years to come starting this year.

Honorable Mentions: RB David Montgomery, S Kerby Joseph, S Ifeatu Melifonwu, WR Kalif Raymond (as a return man), DT DJ Reader

5 most underappreciated Detroit Lions heading into the 2024 season. 5 most underappreciated Detroit Lions heading into the 2024 season. dark. Next