The 10 most important players on the Detroit Lions

1. Ziggy Ansah (39 votes)
2. Golden Tate (33)
3. Taylor Decker (30)
T-4. Ameer Abdullah (29)
T-4. Darius Slay (29)
6. Ricky Wagner (27)
7. Jarrad Davis (18)
8. Eric Ebron (16)
T-10. D.J. Hayden (11)
T-10. T.J. Lang (11)

Jim Caldwell broke the news Tuesday that Taylor Decker required shoulder surgery due to an injury suffered in OTAs, and is out indefinitely. The voting shows how big a blow that could be—Decker placed second on two ballots (Jones and Vrentas), and there’s an argument to be made that he deserves to be even higher than his third-place overall finish.

Ansah was the only Lion to claim multiple first-place votes (Feldman, Kaplan, Vrentas); the others went to Slay (Single) and Tate (Jones). Abdullah climbed as high as No. 2, by Kaplan, and he was included on every ballot.

What’s telling about the Lions’ linebacking corps: that rookie Jarrad Davis landed squarely within the top 10? Or that no other LB, like Tahir Whitehead, garnered so much as a 10th-place vote?

Jonathan Jones defends why he ranked Travis Swanson at No. 3: Reilly Reiff and Larry Warford left in free agency and Detroit filled those holes with T.J. Lang and Rick Wagner. Swanson is vital to getting the new additions on the same page and protecting Stafford like they did with a three-year-low sack total.

Other Lions receiving votes: Travis Swanson (eight votes), Cornelius Washington (five), Glover Quin (five), Theo Riddick (four), A'Shawn Robinson (four), Marvin Jones (two), Haloti Ngata (two), Kerry Hyder (one), Sam Martin (one)

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.