Armed with draft capital, and making some great choices, the Detroit Lions have a young and good roster that general manager Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell have built pretty quickly from the mess Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn left behind.
There are many ways to go when thinking of "building blocks" or "players to build around" for NFL teams. The quarterback is a default option, ideally when he's the right combination of great and fairly young. Otherwise, a high-end young offensive tackle, edge rusher or cornerback might be regarded as someone a team should build around. In increasingly rare cases, within a separate conversation about the value placed on the position, a running back might make the cut for some teams.
Pro Football Focus recently labeled three players to build around for all 32 NFL teams, with the Lions of course part of the NFC list.
PFF's 3 Detroit Lions to build around are the obvious three
PFF's "build around" selections for the Lions are wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, offensive tackle Penei Sewell and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.
"The young and exciting Detroit Lions are bubbling with potential all across their roster, and four more top-50 draft selections enter the fold in 2023. St. Brown’s 2.9% drop rate is in the top 15 among 77 wide receivers with at least 100 targets over the past two seasons, and his 116 first-down receptions rank eighth.- Brad Spielberger, Pro Football Focus
Penei Sewell is an ascending superstar and will still be just 22 years old in Week 1 of his third season, earning an 80.6 overall grade in 2022 and playing on the opposite end of the line from where he lined up in college.
Hutchinson got progressively better as his rookie season went on, ending the season with a 70.2 pass-rush grade and 9.5 sacks as a rookie. More defensive line help, along with Alim McNeill, could be the key to this defense taking that next step, though a revamped secondary this offseason will also go a long way."
St. Brown, Sewell and Hutchinson are the most obvious selections as the top players the Lions should, and will, build around. All three are embodiments of the culture that has been built in Detroit, with levels of play that put them among the best at their positions.
A list of Lions' building blocks could be stretched out to a couple more, now and with names that may change down the road. But the list starts with St. Brown, Sewell and Hutchinson until further notice.