The Lions have a young core of talented players, including their top three rookies. Lineman Riley Reiff, receiver Ryan Broyles and cornerback Bill Bentley have displayed a respectable amount of promise for the future.
Reiff has mostly been used in special offensive packages as an extra blocker on run plays. It helped elevate the production of running backs Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell. He also started at left tackle for veteran Jeff Backus on Thanksgiving against the Houston Texans. Backus' franchise record of 186 consecutive games as a starter was snapped due to a hamstring injury. Reiff filled in and showed he can handle the responsibility as the anchor of the offensive line.
Bentley has had an up and down season filled with shoulder injuries and concussions. The Lions put their rookie corner on the injured reserve in early November after injuring his shoulder. Bentley injured his shoulder against the Oakland Raiders in preseason action and at Philadelphia in Week 6 against the Eagles.
Bentley also went through growing pains as he struggled in coverage with penalties. There were bright spots however, as Bentley showed he's a sure-tackler and has enough speed to keep strides with receivers.
The most impressive rookie has to be Ryan Broyles. With an injured Nate Burleson on the sideline, and troubled receiver Titus Young being a detriment to the team, Broyles has stood out with his opportunities. He is a crisp route runner who has a knack for getting open and separating from defenders.
The Oklahoma product unfortunately is done for the season after injuring his knee against the Indianapolis Colts. His return next season should only be promising and could potentially be a breakout season.