Lions' roster turnover over the last few years has been incredibly dramatic

It's not a shock to see, but here's a look at how much the Detroit Lions' roster has turned over since Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes took over the operation.
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Even for a franchise that has not won a championship since 1957 without a lot of success since, a new rock bottom for the Detroit Lions might have been when the 2020 season ended. They had played out the string with an interim head coach and general manager after Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn were fired in late-November, and things were bleak.

To her credit, owner Sheila Ford Hamp quickly went about trying to change things. Former Lions linebacker Chris Spielman was brought in to take a broad role, followed by the hiring of Brad Holmes as general manager and finally the hiring of Dan Campbel as head coach.

We know how well that has worked out, with the Lions going from 3-13-1 in 2022 to a division title and a trip to the NFC title game last year. It has taken a quick overhaul of the roster, replacing underachievers with an influx of young talent via the draft and veterans that fit the culture Campbell wanted to set.

Detroit Lions' roster overhaul has been dramatic

With a huge hat-tip to Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire, here's a look the Lions' offensive and defensive starters in the 2020 season finale.

QB – Matthew Stafford
RB – D’Andre Swift
TE – T.J. Hockenson
LT – Taylor Decker
LG – Jonah Jackson
C – Frank Ragnow
RG – Oday Aboushi
RT – Halapoulivaati Vaitai
WR – Marvin Jones
WR – Mohamed Sanu
WR – Jamal Agnew

DL – Danny Shelton
DL – John Penisini
DL – Nick Williams
OLB – Romeo Okwara
OLB – Christian Jones
LB – Jahlani Tavai
LB – Reggie Ragland
CB – Amani Oruwariye
CB – Darryl Roberts
S – Duron Harmon
S- Tracy Walker

Of those 22 starters, only four (Decker, Ragnow, Romeo Okwara and Walker) were on the Lions' roster last season. Okwara announced his retirement in March, and Walker remains a free agent as training camp looms.

On the defensive side, only Tavai and Oruwariye are even on an NFL roster right now on July 7.

On the offensive side, Stafford, Swift and Hockenson were of course dealt away in notable trades before last season began. Jackson left for the Los Angeles Rams, reuniting with Stafford, in free agency this offseason. Sanu, Jones and Vaitai are retired or presumed retired, whil Agnew is a notable remaining free agent.

Going deeper, as Risdon noted and as expected, there aren't many players left from that 2020 Lions' roster on this year's team. Decker and Ragnow are the notables. C.J. Moore re-signed this offseason after a one-year gambling suspension, and Jalen Reeves-Maybin re-signed in 2023 after a one-year hiatus with the Houston Texans. Backup offensive lineman Dan Skipper is still around too, and he has been around continuously like Decker and Ragnow.

That's five of 53 players left from the Lions' rock bottom at the end of the 2020 campaign. A 91 percent turnover of a roster in a similar span may not be that uncommon in the NFL, but it's safe to say the Lions tore it all the way down to the studs and built it back up better than most.


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