Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron suffered what looked to be a scary lower leg injury in Saturday’s mock game at Ford Field. Luckily all signs indicate that he suffered a minor ankle ailment, but Ebron’s injury got me to think…
Who Are The Top Five Players The Lions Can’t Lose?
5. Glover Quin – FS
Had the Lions not signed Anquan Boldin, this slot would’ve gone to Golden Tate, but with the extreme lack of depth at both safety positions, a season ending injury to Glover Quin would spell disaster for the secondary. That would mean Don Carey and Rafael Bush trotting out there for week one, a far cry from the top-5 tandem the Lions had just two years ago in Quin and Ihedigbo. Quin is a necessary presence in a young yet talented DB group. Slay, Lawson, and Diggs seem to play well together, but they need a veteran in Quin to help them through adversity. Quin is also arguably a top-5 free safety, let’s not forget that either.
4. Taylor Decker – OT
Even though he hasn’t booked an NFL snap yet, losing Bob Quinn‘s first ever draft pick would be a huge loss, especially to an o-line which shared more of a resemblance with a turnstile than blockers in 2015. Decker is billed as the Lions’ left tackle for years to come and with the team already moving Reiff to the right side, this would be a setback in Quinn’s maniacal plan for Detroit Lions domination.
3. Darius Slay Jr. – CB
The new 50 million dollar man is a fast rising corner who many analysts believe could make the jump into top-5 status come the 2016 season. The cover skills and speed are there, if Slay could become a real play maker by adding a few more picks and forced fumbles to his resume, then he will get the national attention he deserves. An injury to Slay would make Nevin Lawson the #1 who has shown promise, but at just 5’9″ he would likely be out-matched on a weekly basis by opposing team’s top receivers. Crezdon Butler or Alex Carter would likely become the #2 – Yikes.
2. Ezekiel Ansah – DE
With the rise of passing in the NFL, I truly believe that an elite pass rusher has eclipsed an elite left tackle as the second-most important position in football. The Lions have an elite pass rusher who is also a force in the run game and his loss would spell utter disaster for the d-line. Ziggy was a lone, blinding bright spot all season in 2015, ripping up every left tackle he saw including a three-sack performance on turkey day. Ansah’s replacement wouldn’t get half the sacks he would, making Ansah an irreplaceable mainstay on the front-lines.
1. Matthew Stafford – QB
Of all the players the Lions can’t lose, here is the standout number one. No matter your opinion on the polarizing Lions’ signal caller, it’s clear that he is the most integral part of the Lions’ road to success, as quarterbacks should be across the entire league. Having Stafford under center makes the Lions a fringe playoff team, having Orlovsky there puts them in line for the first overall pick. Luckily this scenario seems unlikely. After having an injury riddled first two seasons, Stafford has become an Iron Man of sorts for the Lions, starting every game since 2011.
If they hope to have a successful season, these are the players the Lions can’t lose.
Follow @adamxklepp on Twitter and join the discussion in our Reddit community!