Detroit Lions: 5 Under the Radar Impact Players for 2011
Whenever we hear about the Detroit Lions, we are hearing about the NFL Draft last April, which allowed the Lions to nab Nick Fairley, Titus Young, and Mikel Leshoure. While these were great picks and will prove to be crucial this season, minus Leshoure due to his torn Achilles tendon, there are some other players on the roster who can and will make immediate impacts this season. Here are the five players all Detroit Lions' fans should be looking at to do big things during 2011.
5. Derrick Williams: WR
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When he was drafted in 2009, Derrick Williams was immediately under a lot of pressure to be the pivotal No. 3 wide receiver.
Up to this point, he has failed to live up to the expectations of many. He has yet to even reach 10 receptions during his career in Detroit. Not only that, but Williams has yet to record a touchdown in any regular season game. While many fans and sports writers may be writing him off this season, Williams knows he must produce to stay in Detroit and it is now or never.
Look for him to find those dynamic play-making abilities once again and turn some heads during 2011.
4. Maurice Morris: RB
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Maurice Morris has been a key player in this current Detroit Lions roster, even though his numbers may not show it.
He was called upon many times last year to convert 2nd and 3rd downs, and he did just that. He may be getting older, but with Leshoure going down early, he knows this is his chance to prove he can be the No. 2 back the Lions are desperately looking for during the preseason.
Morris will continue his hard-running ways and provide a boost to an already potent Lions' offense.
3. Cliff Avril: DE
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He may not be a household name just yet, but Cliff Avril is ready to prove to everyone how good he really is.
Avril has Pro Bowl abilities that will finally be seen during the 2011 season. He has improved every year since he was drafted in 2008. In 13 games last season, he recorded 8.5 sacks. This season, the Lions' defense is even better and Avril is poised to be a force.
Look for his stats to be on the rise again this season, which will help propel him to his first Pro Bowl.
2. Bobby Carpenter: LB
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Many people are going to be shocked to see Bobby Carpenter is on this list.
However, he was given another chance by the Lions last year when they resigned him up after he was cut. Even with the recent acquisitions at linebacker, Carpenter has a chance to see some significant playing time this season in different defensive packages. He is the prototypical nickel linebacker, as he can both stop the run effectively while also having the ability to drop back into pass coverage.
Don't be surprised to see Carpenter on the field a great deal this season making big plays.
1. Stefan Logan: RB, WR, and Return Specialist
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It's hard to believe Stefan Logan was only claimed off waivers almost a year ago.
The Lions happened upon a player that nobody expected to see last season. Not only did he amass over 1,400 hundred kick return yards, but he was also chosen to be a Pro-Bowl alternate. He is a dynamic play-maker for the Lions and will continue to be used in the offense as well as the special teams.
No matter the rule change, Logan will have a definite impact in the return game during 2011. Get ready to see him make some game changing plays.