Lions star is already being picked to take a step back this season

The reasoning isn't quite what you'd expect.
Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

Even after their division title and run to the NFC Championship game, there still seems to be an odd amount of skepticism around the Lions. They've been consistently talked about as a team that'll take a step back in 2024, and a lot of NFL analysts seem to think that multiple NFC North teams are in a better spot than Detroit.

Nit-picking comes with the territory, and now that the Lions are one of the NFC's elite teams, that doesn't figure to stop any time soon. Take, for instance, the latest article from 33rd Team, titled "Predicting NFL's Biggest Sophomore Slumps Of 2024." The piece is exactly what you think it is: a team-by-team list worth of players that could be good next year, but also could be bad. Analysis! For the Lions, the 33rd Team focused in on tight end Sam LaPorta, who was one of the best rookies in football last year but apparently won't be next year? I don't know. Here's what they say.

Lions star is already being picked to take a step back this season

"So why might LaPorta have a sophomore slump? It has nothing to do with him and everything to do with all of Detroit's weapons. The Detroit Lions are loaded with playmakers, and it's only fair to assume that Jahmyr Gibbs and Jameson Williams will have bigger roles in 2024. We know that Amon-Ra St. Brown will continue to get his targets from the slot, and David Montgomery will still be in the rotation at running back ... "

"Instead, expect to see LaPorta's touchdown production reduce, as the Lions have too many weapons that need the ball. He will still be among the league's most dynamic tight ends, but repeating his rookie season in terms of production will be extremely difficult."

I mean, I guess. It's not the worst reasoning in the world. Then again, the idea that every young player on the Lions will take a step forward except for LaPorta, who was maybe their best young player, feels not entirely thought through. Arguing that he won't be as good by stating that "he will still be among the league's most dynamic tight ends" is certainly a choice. The guess here is that *Dan Campbell* of all people still finds a way to utilize his very good, very young tight end.