Three Lions land on ESPN's top 100 players list

The Detroit News
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford

The Detroit Lions are moving on up, at least when it comes to ESPN's top 100 NFL players rankings.

The Lions had three players land on the 2018 list, which was unveiled Monday, after having just one player — quarterback Matthew Stafford — make the cut in 2017.

It comes as no surprise Stafford was Detroit's top-ranked player once again at No. 35, making quite the jump from the No. 75 ranking he received last season.

Stafford has been a model of consistency for the Lions, starting 112 straight games and throwing for more than 4,000 yards in seven consecutive seasons. He also ranked in the top 10 in almost every passing category last season.

More: Lions continue to look for help up front, sign veteran Robert Ayers

Joining Stafford is cornerback Darius Slay at No. 67 and defensive end Ziggy Ansah at No. 77.

Slay has emerged as one of the league's top corners and is coming off a career year where he tied for the league lead with eight interceptions en route to earning All-Pro honors. Ansah recorded 12 sacks during an injury-riddled 2017 campaign and has proven to be a disruptive force when healthy.

ESPN reached its projections for the league's best 100 players this season by polling its NFL experts and compiling ratings on a 100-point scale, without an emphasis on past performance or positional value.

The Vikings and Eagles led all teams with seven selections apiece, followed by the L.A. Chargers, Falcons and Jaguars with six each.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers topped the rankings followed by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (Michigan) at No. 2.

Also making the list was Steelers receiver Antonio Brown (Central Michigan) at No. 4, Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (Michigan State) at No. 7, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (Michigan State) at No. 80, Titans tackle Taylor Lewan (Michigan) at No. 85 and Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (Michigan) at No. 94.