Sports Illustrated’s The Monday Morning Quarterback released its top 400 NFL player rankings on Tuesday and it’s a mixed bag for the Lions.
The good news: Detroit had 16 players make the list.
The bad news: Only one Lion cracked the top 100, barely.
Defensive end Ziggy Ansah checked in at No. 99 on SI writer Andy Benoit’s rankings, ahead of quarterback Matthew Stafford (No. 117).
Ansah was ranked the seventh-highest and Stafford the ninth-highest at their respective positions.
“Guys with Ansah's lankiness shouldn't be allowed to move as explosively as he does.
Don't worry about last year's sack total (two), that's aberrational,” Benoit writes.
Of Stafford, Benoit writes: “Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter has simplified the offense in a way that requires Stafford to be smarter before the snap and more disciplined after it. And Stafford has responded extremely well.”
Stafford was followed by guard T.J. Lang (No. 128), cornerback Darius Slay (No. 173), left tackle Taylor Decker (No. 183) and right tackle Rick Wagner (No. 188) in the top 200.
Tight end Eric Ebron (No. 238), receiver Golden Tate (No. 253), free safety Glover Quin (No. 259), receiver Marvin Jones (No. 288), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (No. 294), running back Theo Riddick (No. 306), linebacker Tahir Whitehead (No. 343), strong safety Tavon Wilson (No. 344), defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. (No. 351) and defensive end Armonty Bryant (No. 382) rounded out Detroit’s list.
According to Benoit, the rankings were all film-based and “a player’s raw talent, cultivated skill set and role within his team’s system were taken strongest into consideration.” Special-teamers and rookies were not included.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (Michigan) ranked No. 1 on the list, while Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (No. 5; Michigan State) and Steelers receiver Antonio Brown (No. 10; Central Michigan) cracked the top 10.