Lions dominate PFF’s top 25 players under 25 list

USA Today

When GM Brad Holmes and HC Dan Campbell assumed control of the Detroit Lions, their primary focus was on crafting a team through the draft—a strategy that has proven immensely successful thus far. The Lions have swiftly witnessed impactful contributions from their drafted players, laying the foundation for a robust core set to endure for years to come. Notably, key draft selections like Penei Sewell and Amon-Ra St. Brown have blossomed into premier talents, earning well-deserved contract extensions. This commitment to nurturing young talent has propelled the Lions into consideration as one of the NFL’s elite teams.

It’s hard not to marvel at the Lions’ adept drafting, which has solidified a formidable core and garnered widespread attention for their infusion of youthful vigor. This year, the Lions dominated PFF’s annual top 25 under 25 player rankings, claiming five coveted spots—the highest tally on the list and securing the top position.

Without further ado, here are the five standout players who graced this year’s PFF’s top 25 under 25 list.

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1. Penei Sewell

Sep 24, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell (58) celebrates the Lions win over the Atlanta Falcons while walking off the field at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

It’s truly remarkable to think that Sewell is only 23, given the level of play he demonstrates and the unwavering work ethic he embodies. As the first pick under the Holmes/Campbell era, one can’t help but be thrilled with how he’s performed for the Lions.

Sewell epitomizes everything Detroit could have wished for: he’s a lion-hearted player who embodies the team’s spirit and determination. With his recent contract extension, he’s set to anchor the right side of the field for many years to come.

6. Aidan Hutchinson

Nov 19, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) and Chicago Bears offensive tackle Darnell Wright (58) chase after the loose ball late in the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Hutchinson has taken a significant leap forward in his second year, earning recognition as one of the premier edge rushers in the NFL. His prowess isn’t limited to pass rushing; he’s also been formidable in stopping the run, showcasing his versatility as a well-rounded defender. As he enters his third year, the sky’s the limit for this talented individual. With his tenacity and skill, one can only imagine the heights he’ll reach

11. Amon-Ra St. Brown

Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown celebrates the 31-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC divisional round at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024.

Another gem from Holmes’ inaugural draft, St. Brown has undergone a remarkable transformation from a seemingly overlooked fourth-round pick to one of the league’s most dominant receivers. When a crucial play is needed, you can count on St. Brown to step up and get the job done. With a significant contract extension under his belt, he remains the go-to target for Jared Goff, continually silencing any doubters along the way.

19. Sam LaPorta

Jan 14, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta (87) runs after a catch during the first half of a 2024 NFC wild card game against the Los Angeles Rams at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

When the Lions drafted LaPorta last year, many questioned the pick, doubting the positional value it offered. However, once again, the Lions proved they were ahead of the curve. LaPorta made an immediate impact, shattering tight end reception records and rapidly ascending to the ranks of the NFL’s elite at his position. As he enters his second year, he aims to sustain this upward trajectory.

21. Jahmyr Gibbs

Detroit Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs celebrates his touchdown with Lions fans against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Ford Field on Oct. 30, 2023.

Another standout from last year’s draft class, Gibbs demonstrated why he was deserving of the Lions’ first selection. Though it took him a bit of time to find his stride, an injury to David Montgomery propelled him into the lineup sooner than expected. It didn’t take long for everyone to see his lightning speed, quickness, and elusiveness on full display. As he enters his sophomore season, he should be fully primed to kick it into high gear.

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