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Two Detroit Lions Stars Tipped to Top NFL Position Rankings in 2024


As the Detroit Lions gear up for another promising NFL season, all eyes are on second-year professionals Sam LaPorta and Brian Branch, who are expected to lead the pack in their respective positions. These projections come on the heels of a standout performance that propelled the Lions to the NFC Championship Game last season, solidifying their reputation as top contenders.

According to ESPN NFL analyst Mike Clay’s “2024 NFL Projection Guide”, both LaPorta and Branch are tipped to excel. Clay predicts a robust season for the Lions, with a winning forecast that positions them to seize the NFC North with an estimated 10.6 victories.

Sam LaPorta’s Stellar Prospects

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Sam LaPorta, who was selected 34th overall in the 2023 draft, set records during his rookie year as the tight end with the most receptions (86) in league history for a rookie and amassed 889 receiving yards. Clay forecasts LaPorta to continue his impressive performance with a projected tally of 84 receptions, 860 yards, and seven touchdowns for the upcoming season.

Sam LaPorta – Detroit Lions Tight End – ESPN

Brian Branch’s Defensive Agility

Brian Branch, picked 45th overall in the previous draft, has made significant strides as a slot corner. In his rookie season, he impressively notched three interceptions and 13 passes defensed, earning a 78.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. For 2024, expectations remain high with Branch anticipated to expand his role to include safety responsibilities, following changes in the team’s lineup. His forecasted stats include 97 tackles, eight for loss, two sacks, and approximately 2.4 interceptions.

Brian Branch – Detroit Lions Safety – ESPN

Overall Detroit Lions Projections

The Detroit Lions’ roster boasts strong positions beyond LaPorta and Branch. Clay’s analysis also places Detroit’s offensive line at the pinnacle of the league while ranking the running backs second, the interior defensive line second, and the cornerbacks sixth. Such comprehensive strength across various positions further underscores the Lions’ potential for a formidable season.

Player Rankings and Expectations

Other Lions players have also caught attention in the projections. The rankings are diverse, highlighting both established talents and emerging stars:

Quarterback Jared Goff is ranked 22nd.
Running Back Jahmyr Gibbs shines in the 7th spot, with David Montgomery at 21st.
Wide Receivers: see Amon-Ra St. Brown at 5th, Jameson Williams at 57th, and Donovan Peoples-Jones at 140th.
Defensive Tackle Alim McNeill and D.J. Reader are ranked 31st and 41st, respectively.
Edge Rusher Aidan Hutchinson stands out at 8th, with Marcus Davenport at 75th.
Linebackers Alex Anzalone and Jack Campbell are noted at 24th and 47th, respectively.
Cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Terrion Arnold are positioned at 40th and 63rd.
Safeties Kerby Joseph and Ifeatu Melifonwu are ranked at 36th and 60th, showcasing depth in the defensive backfield.

The Detroit Lions, buoyed by a positive analysis from experts and the clear distribution of talent within the team, are set to make a substantial impact in the upcoming NFL season. Their talented lineup, combined with the potential of emerging young stars, lays a strong groundwork for achievement.

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Written by Jeff Bilbrey

Founder of Detroit Sports Nation - Jeff Bilbrey manages the day to day operations of Detroit Sports Nation as well as all content delivery systems, ad networks and social platforms. Email him at [email protected]

Lions’ Receiver Tipped for Career Year in 2024 by Pro Football Focus

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