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Encouraging Fact Revealed About Lions’ 2022 Roster Leads to Big Hope

The Detroit Lions ended the 2022-23 season on one of the biggest upswings in the NFL, and their 9-8 finish was seen as a sign of major hope for the future.

There might be even more reason for hope in the fact that the team is still growing, being they were the youngest in the entire league last year.

ESPN analyst Bill Barnwell did a deep dive after the season and pointed out that it was the Lions, who had an average age of 25.7 between offense and defense that had the youngest NFL roster this season.

Meant to post this: these are the full snap-weighted age rankings for each team this season on offense, defense, and overall. Saints were the oldest team in the league, Lions the youngest. pic.twitter.com/PYVVZkvdH1

— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) January 19, 2023

“Meant to post this: these are the full snap-weighted age rankings for each team this season on offense, defense, and overall. Saints were the oldest team in the league, Lions the youngest,” Barnwell tweeted.

Heading into the year, Detroit was also seen as having the youngest roster. The progression of the season did nothing to change that at all, as the Lions stayed young and continued to develop their players.

Detroit being the youngest team in the league and still finding a way to win nine games and come within an eyelash of making the postseason is a huge accomplishment that could point to a bright future for the team.

The Lions felt like one of the most dangerous teams down the stretch going 8-2 after a 1-6 start. They maintained a top-four offense, and while their defense struggled, the rookies helped carry it most of the year.

Youngest, Oldest Players on Lions Roster

Currently, the dichotomy between the youngest and oldest Lions is quite interesting, and helps paint a picture of how the team is set to evolve in the near future.

As of now, the oldest player on the team is defensive lineman Michael Brockers. At age 32, however, he’s hardly a complete elder-statesman. Brockers’ age has been the subject of many jokes with the team before considering how old he seems to the younger Detroit players.

This offseason, Brockers could be one of the players who could depart, in addition to guard Halapoulivaati Vaiai, who is 29 and recovering from a back injury.

In terms of the youngest player on the roster, wideout Jameson Williams is 21. Offensive tackle Penei Sewell is 22, and so is rookie safety Kerby Joseph, Aidan Hutchinson and Alim McNeill. Right on their heels are wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, cornerback Jeff Okudah and linebacker Derrick Barnes, who are all 23.

Add it up, and the Lions still have the youngest average age in the NFL, with lots of room to grow in the future considering these facts.

Lions Rookies, Young Players Lead Turnaround

How have the Lions turned thing around? It’s been a lot of good drafting, which has led to the team getting multiple impact players for the future out of the last two draft classes.

Detroit’s 2021 and 2022’s class has made use of the later rounds to nab names such as wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown, linebacker Derrick Barnes, linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez and edge James Houston. Other earlier picks such as edge Aidan Hutchinson, defensive tackle Alim McNeill, safety Kerby Joseph, wideout Jameson Williams figure to have productive futures, too.

The Lions will have a great chance to get another class to that level in 2023, too. Why? The team has four picks within the first two rounds of the draft at their disposal, maintaining picks six, 18, 49 and 56. More cracks at top players should theoretically give the Lions a better chance to find multiple young producers.

It isn’t just the rookie classes making this impact. The Lions have also done a good job to mine gold off the league’s theoretical scrap heap. Released players like John Cominsky (27), running back Justin Jackson (26), defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs (26) and safety DeShon Elliott (25) are all under 30 and played huge depth roles for the team this past season.

Overall, the Lions have committed to getting younger and not getting tied down to massive contracts with players north of 30. That’s a good way to build a roster that is consistent and has a chance of having a bright future.

Combined with the leadership of Dan Campbell and the lessons the team has already learned, the future could be brighter than some may have imagined.

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