Detroit Lions 'non-quarterback MVP' choice is really not a big shocker

If we're looking beyond quarterback Jared Goff, the 'team MVP' for the Detroit Lions that The Athletic chose isn't a big surprise.
Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The NFL MVP award has become a "quarterback award", in deference the most important player on each team. That gives Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff some chance at winning it this year, as long as the team delivers as expected.

But those who cover the league know the talent level of the Lions' roster as a whole. Spotlight can be shone on any number of players within certain premises.

The Athletic brought together their NFL beat writers to name one "non-quarterback team MVP for each team (subscription required). Lions' beat writer Colton Pouncy landed on someone who really isn't a big surprise.

Lions' "non-quarterback MVP" is literal centerpiece of the team

Among many good candidates, as he noted, Pouncy went with center Frank Ragnow as the Lions' team MVP who is not the quarterback

"You could throw a dart at this Lions roster and your odds of it landing on a quality non-QB MVP would be high. Some obvious answers include Amon-Ra St. Brown, Aidan Hutchinson, Alim McNeillAlex Anzalone, Brian Branch, Sam LaPorta, Penei Sewell, Detroit’s running backs — all worthy candidates. But I’m going with Ragnow. He’s arguably the best center in the league and Detroit’s offense simply isn’t the same without him..."

After last year's Divisional Round playoff win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when Ragnow added a couple fresh maladies to his full injury docket for the season, no less an authority than left tackle Taylor Decker confirmed Ragnow's exalted status with his teammates.

"Frank is a f**king warrior, man", Decker said.

Then-left guard Jonah Jackson used the same two eloquent words to describe Ragnow after that win over Tampa Bay.

"The guy is a f***ing warrior,” Jackson said.

Ragnow, with toughness in spades on top of spades, is the clearest personification of the "Grit" culture Dan Campbell has fostered with the Lions. As has been said before, he is literally better as physically compromised as he was last season than most other centers in the league are at full strength. That's a testament to his toughness, his mental strength, his mental preparedness and his physical ability. There are three letters to describe a player like that, on a team level and maybe even including the quarterback in the case of the Lions.


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