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: Offense
Quarterback: Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford was one of the few bright spots for an otherwise morbid franchise. After starting nearly every game for the Lions in this decade, he reached 40,000 yards passing yards sooner than any other NFL quarterback in history. His 258 career touchdown passes are good for 18th in NFL history.
Running Back: Reggie Bush
The former Heisman Trophy winner landed in Detroit after successful stints with the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins. Despite only two seasons with the Lion, Reggie Bush made a profound impact with the team by accumulating 2,062 combined rushing and receiving yards to go along with nine touchdowns. Sadly and surprisingly, Bush was the first Lions back to rush for over 1,000 yards since Kevin Jones in 2004.
Wide receiver: Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson is arguably one of the best receivers in NFL history, and the best receiver in Lions history. Johnson holds team records for receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. Dubbed “Megatron” for his imposing size, he retired in 2015 after nine seasons of hauling in passes with a finesse Detroit will always remember.
Wide receiver: Golden Tate
Golden Tate was steady complement to Calvin Johnson before showcasing himself as a true go-to receiver after the former’s retirement. Tate accumulated 416 catches for 4,741 yards and 22 touchdowns in 71 games for Detroit. In each of his four seasons with the team he caught at least 90 passes before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018.
Wide receiver: Nate Burleson
From 2010-2013, Nate Burleson caught 194 catches for the Lions after spending time with the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks. He caught nine touchdowns during his first two seasons in the Motor City before injuries derailed his final two seasons, ending in his retirement.
Tight End: Brandon Pettigrew
Brandon Pettigrew, a former first-rounder selection, spent his entire seven-year career with the Lions. During that span, he caught 301 passes for 2,965 yards in 93 games. The tight end is second all-time in receptions and fourth in receiving yards and touchdowns amongst Lions at his position.
Left Tackle: Taylor Decker
Taylor Decker was selected 16th overall by the Lions in the 2016 NFL draft after a successful college career at Ohio State University. He has started 55 games for Detroit during the first four years of his career, proving sturdy at a position teams struggle to find a consistently healthy player. Standing at 6’7”, Decker should anchor the Detroit offensive line for years to come.
Left Guard: Larry Warford III
After being drafted out of Kentucky in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft, Larry Warford III made his bones in Detroit for four seasons before eventually moving on to New Orleans where he garnered three consecutive Pro Bowls. Proving his impeccable health and strength, Warford III has started every game he’s played in during his career.
Center: Dominic Raiola
In the middle of the 2014 season Dominic Raiola became the first player in Detroit Lions history to start 200 games. After being drafted out of Nebraska in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft, he spent his entire career with the Lions until retiring after the 2014 season.
Right Guard: Graham Glasgow
After being selected by Detroit out of Michigan in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft, Graham Glasgow started 58 games for the team while appearing at both guard and center before eventually signing with the Denver Broncos this off-season. He was a sturdy guard who offered flexibility across the offensive line.
Right Tackle: Riley Reiff
After being drafted 23rd overall out of Iowa in the 2012 NFL Draft, Riley Reiff spent five seasons in Detroit before signing with Minnesota as a free agent following the 2016 season. During that span, he gritted his teeth while playing in 77 games for the franchise, never quite seeing the team succeed to the levels hoped for, but also earning himself a slot as one of the Lions strongest tackles of the 2010s.