The Detroit Lions have one of the youngest rosters in the league in 2022. There has been so much roster turnover from the Matt Patricia era to the Dan Campbell era that there are only 3 players remaining in the current starting 22 from Patricia’s last full season in 2019. The Lions have shed all of their skill position players from 3 years ago, and the majority of them are still relevant players in the league today. Some have continued to play at the level they were previously at, some have taken a step up, and some players’ careers have been derailed past a point of salvation. Here are some notable active former Lions and what they have been up to since leaving Detroit. (Note: while I will account for the players body of work through 2 weeks of the 2022 season, I will only be counting full seasons in their stats.)
POST LIONS STATS(1 Season)
: 4886 YARDS, 67.2 CMP%, 41-17 TD-INT, SUPER BOWL CHAMPION
The definitive best quarterback in Detroit Lions history got a fresh start last year when he was traded to the contending Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff and a plethora of draft picks. After 12 seasons of 0 playoff wins, Stafford rattled off 4 in a row to lead the Rams to their first super bowl title since the greatest show on turf. While he did lead the league in interceptions, he still played at the high level that Lions fans witnessed from 2009-2020. Matt Stafford erased all doubt about him not being a winner by navigating a team to the biggest win an NFL team can have.
POST LIONS STATS (2 SEASONS): 4 INT, 111 TACKLES, 2021 PRO BOWLER
Switching sides of the ball, Darius Slay has continued to be an elite shutdown corner through a change in teams and being past his athletic prime. Although the ball production was not at a high level during his first two seasons with the Eagles, his intelligence and physicality in coverage allowed him to continue his great play into his 30s. In the young 2022 season, Slay turned heads with his dominant week 2 Monday night performance against the Vikings where he had 2 picks and seemed to always be around the ball. At age 31, the Mississippi State product has shown no signs of slowing down.
MARVIN JONES JR.
POST LIONS STATS (1 SEASON): 832 REC YARDS, 4 TD, 6.9 YARDS PER TARGET
The Jaguars signed the former Detroit and Cincinnati wideout to be a veteran presence for a misfit receiver group under the leadership of Urban Meyer. The result was… bad. While Jones didn’t necessarily perform awfully, the 2021 Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the more dysfunctional teams in NFL history. Urban Meyer was fired mid-season for a plethora of reasons including bad behavior off the field, but the on field product was the main factor for his dismissal. It was such an anomaly that it affected every Jacksonville player. Jones took a small step down in terms of yards and touchdowns, and while some may chalk it up to regression due to age, the talent still shows in him and I am confident that he will have a bounce back season in 2022.
POST LIONS STATS (1 SEASON): 14 GAMES, 541 REC YARDS, 0 TD, 6.9 YARDS
A former Lion receiver that I am much less confident in is Kenny Golladay. While I minced words with Jones, the former pro bowler was non-existent on the field in 2021 with the New York Giants. The amount of games is important in the context of these stats because he started 9 less games in his rookie year(2017) and only had 50 less yards. Not to mention the 0 receiving touchdowns. Here are some players who had more receiving touchdowns than the 72 million dollar man: Ameer Abdullah, Tavon Austin, Taylor Decker(A tackle),Dare Ogunbowale.
POST LIONS STATS (3 SEASONS): 13 INT, 169 TACKLES, 2 TIME PRO BOWLER
To end this article on a positive note, Quandre Diggs has turned into a premier safety in the NFL after joining the Seahawks mid season in 2019. While he was certainly a solid player in Detroit, he has come into his own under head coach Pete Carroll. His talent was prevalent from the moment he switched from a cornerback to a safety and earned a starting role. The big difference with Diggs is the contrast of scheme utilization from Detroit and Seattle. He has made his only 2 pro bowls as a member of the Seahawks, and while he’s nearing 30 years of age, he seems to be on an upward trajectory for years to come.