Top 5 breakout candidates for the Detroit Lions in 2023

Heading into a season that's full of expectations and promise, here are five top breakout candidates for the Detroit Lions in 2023.
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Kerby Joseph, Detroit Lions
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3. S Kerby Joseph

Tracy Walker's Week 3 Achilles tear pushed Joseph into a starting role sooner than expected as a rookie last year. He absolutely delivered too, with 82 tackles (fourth in the team), four interceptions and being a particular thorn in Aaron Rodgers' side.

But there were some natural growing pains for Joseph as a rookie, and plays he (and his coaches) would certainly look back on and say he should've been in better position to make. Upgrades in the Lions' secondary this offseason will only help him, on and off the field. He also only had one full season as a safety in college at Illinois, so it's not a stretch to say he's still raw.

Better instincts, fueled by pure experience, plus talent. It adds up to a possible breakout for Joseph in his second season.

2. Edge James Houston

Yes, Houston made our list of Lions players who are being overhyped. But after he had eight sacks in seven games over just 140 defensive snaps as a rookie last year, the hype is easy to buy into. He has been impossible to ignore as a breakout candidate this year, based purely on it being a virtual lock (barring injury) he'll play more than seven games and play a lot more snaps in his second season.

The Lions have a deep group of edge rushers heading into training camp, with a variety of skill sets and roles. Houston may be the best raw talent this side of Aidan Hutchinson in the whole group. So he sits high on the list of breakout candidates for the entire team this year, even toeing the line between hype and overhype.