The Detroit Lions are starting to establish an identity in the current Matt Patricia era after seeing many peaks and valleys throughout the last decade. As the franchise continued performing at mediocre levels, the Ford ownership group created a revolving door of both head coaches and general managers in their quest to elevate the team from purgatory. Although there are many reasons one can point to for the franchise’s continuing struggles, it’s important to pay homage to the players that have managed to keep Detroit relevant in the ultra-competitive NFC North Division, and thus have made it onto the Detroit Lions 2010s All-Decade Team.
Detroit Lions 2010s All-Decade Team: Defense
Defensive end: Ezekiel Ansah
Ezekiel Ansah was selected fifth overall by the Lions in the 2013 NFL draft out of BYU. The end registered 48 sacks in 80 games with Detroit, ending fourth in those categories in team history. Ansah had a stellar 2015, recording 14.5 sacks, just a half-sack short of the team record.
Defensive tackle: Ndamukong Suh
During his time with the Lions, Ndamukong Suh was regarded as one of the best defensive tackles in NFL history. After being drafted second overall in the 2010 draft, Suh started 78 games for Detroit. He totaled 181 combined tackles and 36 sacks and earned a questionable reputation before eventually signing with the Miami Dolphins in 2015.
Defensive tackle: Haloti Ngata
Haloti Ngata started 32 games in Detroit after a successful career with the Baltimore Ravens. Ngata filled a major void left by the previously mentioned Suh in the middle of Detroit’s defense before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018.
Defensive end: Cliff Avril
Cliff Avril totaled 168 tackles and 39.5 sacks (the sixth-highest total in team history) in 73 games for Detroit. He was credited with 11 sacks in 2011, the 10th-highest single-season total in Lions history. He spent five seasons with the team before signing with the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent in 2013.
Linebacker: Stephen Tulloch
Stephen Tulloch signed with the Lions in free agency following his time with the Tennessee Titans. Tulloch played 67 games over his five seasons with the Lions, amassing 485 tackles for Detroit, the sixth-highest total in franchise history.
Linebacker: DeAndre Levy
Widely regarded as one of the best linebackers in team history, DeAndre Levy played the entirety of his eight-year career with Detroit. During that time he totalled 632 tackles in 95 games for the Lions, which is third all-time in team history.
Linebacker: Tahir Whitehead
Tahir Whitehead played the first six seasons of his career for the Lions after being selected by Detroit in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Whitehead notched 389 tackles in 93 games for Detroit before signing with the Oakland Raiders in 2018.
Cornerback: Darius Slay
After being selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Darius Slay developed into one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks and totaled 104 pass defenses to go along with 19 interceptions before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles this off-season.
Cornerback: Quandre Diggs
After being selected by Detroit with a sixth-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, Quandre Diggs blossomed into a reliable starter, playing both cornerback and safety for the Lions. He played 65 games for Detroit over five years, before being traded to the Seattle Seahawks halfway through the 2019 season. He totalled nine interceptions and 24 pass defenses prior to the move.
Safety: Glover Quin
After signing with the Lions in 2013 Glover Quin spent six seasons with Detroit while appearing in 96 games. By the time he retired in 2018, he recorded 424 tackles to go along with 19 interceptions and 37 pass defenses. Considered a leader in the team’s secondary, he played an integral role with the franchise.
Safety: Louis Delmas
Louis Delmas was drafted by the Lions out of Western Michigan during the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Before leaving for the Miami Dolphins via free agency in 2014, he started 64 games and totalled 331 tackles to go along with six interceptions and 24 pass defenses. 2014 was the last time Delmas was seen in the NFL, tearing his right ACL in his lone season with the Dolphins.
Kicker: Jason Hanson
Jason Hanson played his entire 21-year career with Detroit. During that timespan, he managed to become the Lions all-time leading scorer and collect numerous NFL kicking records. He became the first player to score 2,000 points with one franchise and played more career games with Detroit than any other player played for a team in league history.