The Detroit Lions have made the NFL playoffs in the 2000’s just as many times as your local high school team has. At times in the past 10 seasons, they have looked like a high school football team. Now with Stafford and Calvin Johnson, the Lions are looking like there is an actual chance that they could eventually become a competitive team again. The cupboard was a little bare when it came to great Detroit Lions of the past decade, but I finally decided on these five players as the best of the 2000’s. (Only accomplishments and stats while playing for the Detroit Lions from 2000-2009 were considered.)
1. Shawn Rogers – In seven seasons with the Detroit Lions in the 2000’s, Rogers recorded 29 sacks, even while demanding constant double teams. The throwback defensive tackle/nose guard made two Pro Bowls while with the Lions.
2. Jason Hanson – Was Jason Hanson that good, or were the other Detroit Lions that bad, that Jason Hanson is considered their 2nd best player of the decade? It’s a little of both. Jason Hanson has been the one consistent good player in the Lions organization throughout the decade. With the Detroit Lions, that is enough to warrant him the #2 spot.
3. Dre Bly – Bly only played four seasons with the Detroit Lions, but he played great for all four of those seasons. From 2003-2006, Dre Bly had 19 interceptions and three defensive touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl twice during his short stint with Detroit.
4. Calvin Johnson – There is no doubt that Calvin Johnson is a very special talent, but he has only been in the league for three seasons. He only has 2,889 yards receiving and 20 touchdowns throughout his career with two games remaining in the 2009 season. So how does a guy make an all decade team in only three seasons? Well, even though Calvin Johnson has shown flashes of his greatness in his short career, giving him the fourth spot on this list didn’t have much to do with his numbers. It is more about the hope he brings the Detroit Lions for the next decade. With Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson is showing that there could finally be hope in Detroit for a brighter future. For a team that hasn’t even sniffed the playoffs since the retirement of Barry Sanders, that is an invaluable trait.
5. Kalimba Edwards – Edwards played for the Detroit Lions from 2002-2007, recording 26 sacks throughout those years. For a lot of franchises, that wouldn’t exactly be newsworthy, but for the Lions that is what I call an accomplishment.