Top Lions News

  • Lions' Jameson Williams: Pushing to be 'full-time starter'

    Head coach Dan Campbell indicated that Williams is set for an increased role in 2024, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports. "[Williams] is going to push to be a full-time starter, and that's what we're looking for. Everybody grows at a different rate. Maybe it's taken him a little bit longer, but he is developing and growing. The kid has come on. We got high hopes for him and see him continuing to grow," Campbell said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

    Williams technically became a starter Week 7 of last season, but he never topped 70 percent of the offensive snaps in a single game until Detroit's season-ending loss to the 49ers in the playoffs. The 2022 first-round pick also saw just 3.5 targets per game after joining the starting unit. Given that the likes of Josh Reynolds and DJ Chark have regularly topped 80 percent of the offensive snaps while serving as the No. 2 wideout behind Amon-Ra St. Brown in recent years, Williams at least has considerable room to grow from a playing-time standpoint, especially with Reynolds set to become an unrestricted free agent. However, neither Reynolds nor Chark saw more than 4.7 targets per game in a season with Detroit, and none of the top-36 wide receivers in per-game half-PPR scoring saw less than 5.6 targets per game in 2023. With St. Brown and Sam LaPorta presumably the centerpieces for the passing game of a run-first Lions offense, Williams may need to rely upon touchdowns and explosive plays to pay off as a difference-making fantasy asset in 2024.

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  • Lions' C.J. Gardner-Johnson: Productive when healthy in 2023

    Gardner-Johnson recorded 17 tackles, three pass breakups and one interception over three games in 2023.

    Gardner-Johnson signed a one-year deal to defend the slot in Detroit, but he ultimately was moved to safety to accommodate impressive rookie Brian Branch before missing 14 games due to a torn pectoral muscle. However, Gardner-Johnson was nonetheless productive when healthy, as the playmaker snagged a pick not only in his Week 18 return from injured reserve but also in Detroit's divisional-round win over Tampa Bay. Now set to become an unrestricted free agent, Gardner-Johnson should be a desirable asset on the open market.

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  • Lions' Kerby Joseph: Another productive season

    Joseph (arm) registered 82 tackles, 11 pass breakups and four interceptions over 15 games in 2023.

    Joseph continued to make a name for himself in Detroit after posting a second straight season with four interceptions. This year, the Illinois product also held opposing passers to a 58.5 QBR when being targeted while not allowing a touchdown in his coverage all season, per Pro Football Focus. With Tracy Walker out of the picture and C.J. Gardner-Johnson uncertain to return to Detroit this offseason, Joseph enters the 2024 campaign as Detroit's clear top option at free safety and he has the potential for triple-digit tackles with double-digit PBUs if he can stay healthy for a full season.

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  • Lions' Cameron Sutton: Underwhelming in Detroit

    Sutton recorded 65 tackles, six passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble over 17 games in 2023.

    Detroit made a decent gamble last offseason by giving Sutton a contract that made him among the top-20 most expensive cornerbacks in the league. While Sutton continued to be reliable from a health standpoint, he played a large role within a secondary that allowed the sixth-most passing touchdowns (28), the sixth-most passing yards per game (247.4), and the most passing plays of 20-plus yards (69). Under contract for at least one more season before the Lions could realistically part ways with him, Sutton should get every chance to re-establish himself in 2024, but it wouldn't be a surprise if Detroit tries to upgrade at outside cornerback during the offseason.

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  • Lions' Brian Branch: Impressive rookie season

    Branch registered 74 tackles, one sack, 13 pass breakups, three interceptions, one defensive touchdown and one forced fumble over 15 games in 2023.

    Impressing at both safety and nickelback as a rookie, Branch ultimately settled in at the latter position despite the Lions spending $6.5 million to bring in C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who was moved to safety to accommodate. Branch ultimately finished the year tied for 12th among cornerbacks in both PBUs and picks. While it remains possible that the Alabama product could see added responsibilities at safety again in the future, he at least seems to be locked in at the nickelback spot entering 2024.

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  • Lions' Jerry Jacobs: Expected back for regular season

    Head coach Dan Campbell indicated Tuesday that Jacobs (hamstring) should be ready to play at some point during the preseason, Jeff Risdon of WMAX-FM reports.

    Jacobs was unavailable for Detroit's postseason run after injuring his hamstring down the stretch of last season. Prior to initially getting banged up in Week 14 against Chicago, Jacobs was nearly an every-down player, albeit for a Lions defense that was much weaker against the pass than the run in 2023. While Jacobs is now set to become a restricted free agent, it sounds like Campbell expects him to stick around in 2024.

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  • Lions' John Cominsky: Logs two sacks in 2023

    Cominsky recorded 36 tackles, two sacks and one pass defended over 16 games in 2023.

    Cominsky finished the season with the second-most snaps among Lions defensive linemen behind Aidan Hutchinson while starting 11 of the 16 games Cominsky was available. While he is a solid player, the Lions finished with the ninth-fewest sacks (41) in 2023 largely due to a lack of production behind Hutchinson, who finished sixth in the league with 11.5 sacks. Cominsky seems to have a good chance to stick in Detroit in 2024 even though his potential release could open $4.6 million in cap space, but it would not be a surprise if the Lions look to find an upgrade during the offseason.

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  • Lions' Romeo Okwara: Two sacks in 2023

    Okwara recorded nine tackles, two sacks, two pass breakups and one forced fumble over 16 games in 2023.

    After appearing in just nine games between 2021 and 2022 due to a torn Achilles, Okwara did well to stay healthy for most of the year. However, he has yet to regain the form he displayed during Okwara's 10-sack 2020 campaign, which does not bode well for the 28-year-old as he enters unrestricted free agency.

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  • Lions' James Houston: Season ruined by injury

    Houston recorded one tackle in two games during the 2023 season.

    Houston was expected to handle a large workload as a pass rusher after racking up eight sacks as a rookie in 2022. However, he suffered a fractured ankle in Week 2 and didn't see the field again until the Lions' season-ending loss to the 49ers in the NFC championship game. Now set to become an exclusive-rights free agent at the end of the league year, Houston is a strong candidate to return to Detroit in 2024.

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  • Lions' Ifeatu Melifonwu: Strong finish to 2023 campaign

    Melifonwu recorded 33 tackles, 3.0 sacks, eight pass breakups, two interceptions and one forced fumble over 17 regular-season games in 2023.

    Seeing extended playing time just twice in the first 12 games of the season, Melifonwu ended the year with a bang after being pushed into a large role for a second time in Week 14. From that point on, the Syracuse product did enough to finish the season tied for second among safeties in sacks and top 20 in passes defended despite seeing more than seven percent of the defensive snaps in just seven of 17 games. Melifonwu then finished tied for third among all players in sacks (2.0) and 11th in tackles (16) during the postseason. Now entering the final year of his rookie contract, the 2021 third-rounder seems headed for a big role in 2024 regardless of any additions the Lions could make to the secondary this offseason.

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  • Lions' Aidan Hutchinson: Keeps improving

    Hutchinson recorded 51 tackles with 11.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, seven passes defended and one interception over 17 regular-season games in 2023.

    Quickly ascending to the upper echelon of defensive ends, Hutchinson tied for sixth in sacks and second in pass breakups among all defensive linemen. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft was also a force in run defense for a Lions unit that finished near the top of the league in most run-defense metrics, like yards per rush allowed (3.7) and rushing yards per game allowed (88.8). However, an inability to find a pass-rushing complement to the newly minted Pro Bowler has hindered a Lions defense that finished with the ninth-fewest sacks (51) in 2023. It is not unrealistic to think Hutchinson's production could improve if the Lions can find a worthy sidekick this offseason.

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  • Lions' Alim McNeill: Totals 5.0 sacks in 2023

    McNeill logged 32 tackles, 5.0 sacks, one pass breakup and one forced fumble over 13 regular-season games in 2023.

    McNeill consistently looked like one of the best players on a Detroit defense that made huge improvements in run defense between 2022 and 2023. Finishing among the top-20 defensive tackles in sacks, McNeill's contributions as a pass rusher were also important for a unit that is struggling to find a complement to star defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. With each of McNeill and Hutchinson under contract in 2024 alongside a strong group of linebackers, the Lions defense, at a minimum, is returning the key pieces that made it an elite run defense in 2023.

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  • Lions' Malcolm Rodriguez: Large role reduction in 2023

    Rodriguez recorded 22 tackles and one forced fumble over 17 regular-season games in 2023.

    After logging 584 defensive snaps during his rookie year, Rodriguez was given just 115 of them in 2023 thanks to Derrick Barnes seeing an expanded role alongside Alex Anzalone, with first-round pick Jack Campbell joining the fold as well. Given that each of the three starting linebackers are under contract in 2024, Rodriguez does not have a clear path to a bigger role in the near term, let alone come anywhere close to the 87 tackles he registered in 2022.

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  • Lions' Derrick Barnes: Racks up 81 tackles in 2023

    Barnes (knee) registered 81 tackles, 1.0 sacks and one forced fumble over 16 regular-season games in 2023.

    A strong summer propelled Barnes into the Week 1 starting lineup over first-round rookie Jack Campbell, and Barnes maintained a large role within Detroit's defense even as Campbell's role increased throughout the year. No play was bigger for Barnes than his game-sealing interception of Baker Mayfield in the playoffs to send Detroit to the NFC Championship Game, in which Barnes hurt his knee after just three plays. While the linebacker said at the time that he believed he avoided structural damage to his knee, per Kyle Meinke of MLive.com, it is not clear if Barnes -- who is entering the final year of his contract -- will be ready for offseason workouts in mid-April.

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  • Lions' Jack Campbell: Strong rookie season

    Campbell recorded 95 tackles, 2.0 sacks and one pass defended over 17 regular-season games in 2023.

    Campbell seemed ticketed for a starting job alongside Alex Anzalone after Detroit spent a first-round pick on Campbell, an off-ball linebacker, in the 2023 NFL Draft. While 2021 fourth-rounder Derrick Barnes opened the year in the starting lineup, both Campbell and Barnes ended the season having logged around 60 percent of the defensive snaps, and Campbell joined Anzalone in the starting lineup for 11 of the final 12 games while Barnes started only eight of those contests (while missing one game to injury). Thanks in part to a larger role on special teams, Campbell ultimately averaged half of a tackle more per game than Barnes along with one more sack and a pass breakup. With plenty of room to grow from a playing-time standpoint combined with Barnes entering the final year of his contract, the 23-year-old Campbell is a strong bet to be in Detroit's long-term plans and is a realistic candidate to have a bigger role entering his second season in the league.

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  • Lions' Jalen Reeves-Maybin: Gets new deal

    Reeves-Maybin (groin) signed a two-year, $7.5 million contract extension with the Lions on Monday, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports.

    Reeves-Maybin played in all 17 regular-season games for Detroit last season, earning a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl roster as a special teamer. He finished his 2023 campaign with 20 tackles, 1.0 sack and two passes defended. According to Garafolo, the Tennessee product's new contract will make him the highest-paid core special teams player ever.

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Team Statistical Rankings

Rushing Passing Overall
Off. 135.9
(5th)
270.9
(4th)
394.8
(3rd)
Def. 88.8
(2nd)
268.4
(29th)
336.1
(19th)

Injuries

Player Injury
K. Joseph FS Kerby Joseph FS Arm
J. Jacobs CB Jerry Jacobs CB Hamstring
D. Barnes LB Derrick Barnes LB Knee
E. Moseley DB Emmanuel Moseley DB Knee - ACL
H. Vaitai OG Halapoulivaati Vaitai OG Back