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Reminder: The Detroit Lions aren't really an up-and-coming team

Eric Ebron is one of the few promising under-25 players for the Lions.
Eric Ebron is one of the few promising under-25 players for the Lions.
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

ESPN.com has been doing stuff about young NFL players this week. They did their annual top 25 "prospects," and now they've delivered a ranking of every team by under-25 talent. Basically, which teams seem to be up-and-coming and should be improving in the future. You can read about the criteria here, and also see the entire ranking. However, if you just want to know where the Detroit Lions rank, allow me to tell you. They are 28th. Yes, 28th out of 32.

Forever, the Lions have been perceived as an up-and-coming team. They had young talent and whatever. They sort of isn't really the case anymore. Now, it's not like they are old, either. Matthew Stafford is 26. Ndamukong Suh is 27. Even Ziggy Ansah is 25, albeit a raw 25. Also, they do have young players, they just haven't proven much. There's the rookies, and then there are guys like Darius Slay. So, they could improve.

On the other hand, this is a team whose key players are in their prime. This is as good as the team is likely to be, barring any major changes, which may come if the Lions don't find success soon. Plus, Suh's contract status is up in the air. It may very well be put up or shut up time for Detroit. All the high draft picks need to turn into a winning football team.

Not having a lot of young talent isn't necessarily an issue. The team who finished 32nd on this list was the Seattle Seahawks, who just won the Super Bowl. They are also loaded with All-Pro types, while the Lions, basically, have Calvin Johnson and Suh. The Lions could be a playoff team, but it probably won't be because of their under-25 players. It will be because Jim Caldwell and Joe Lombardi get the most out of Matthew Stafford and because Nick Fairley earns his draft status and because they have a kicker that can actually kick. If those things don't happen, the Lions could be adding more promising young talent with another high draft pick, and Martin Mayhew likely won't be making the selection.