The Detroit Lions finished last season with a 12-5 record, good for first place in the NFC North. The Lions beat out the favored Vikings, Packers and Bears, capturing their first division crown since the 1991-1992 season, and making their first NFC Championship Game since that season.

Coach Dan Campbell’s Lions jumped out to a 24-7 lead over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Title Game, only to give up 27 points in the second half, losing 34-31 to Coach Kyle Shanahan’s team in the Bay Area.

The Lions have since followed their 2023-2024 season up with what has been an incredible offseason according to most media analysts, one that culminated with the selection of two standout defensive backs who could start in Week One for Campbell and Defensive Coordinator Aaron Glenn’s team.

Campbell has already gone on record as predicting, or at least visualizing, a Super Bowl this season for the Lions, as told in a recent article by Eric Woodyard on

“I don’t see bust. I see Super Bowl,” Campbell said this past May. “I don’t know what bust is.”

The Lions had a stacked team in 2023-2024, but it was a team with several glaring omissions on both sides of the ball. The 2024-2025 Lions have a chance to fill those holes in more ways than one with their exciting list of offseason additions.

Here are the top five X-factors for the Lions to make it to the Big Game next season, and how each player can make an important impact on this season’s team:

5. Ennis Rakestraw, Jr.- 


Rakestraw, Jr. was selected with the 29th pick in the second round, number 61 overall.

The Missouri football product was projected as a first round pick for much of the spring prior to his second round selection. By most accounts, the Lions got themselves a steal with this pick.

Rakestraw, Jr. has the size to play on the outside from Day One. He also has the physicality and instincts to match up with many of the league’s most talented receivers. Rakestraw, Jr. doesn’t have the interception stats to suggest he was worthy of a first round pick, but he is a sure tackler who forces fumbles and is generally a pest on defense.

That ensures he will see plenty of playing time in Year One, bolstering Glenn’s secondary depth considerably.

4. Jameson Williams-


Injury and suspension related setbacks early in his career had fans wondering if the former number 12 overall pick from 2022 would ever live up to his considerable hype.

Williams was given an unofficial vote of confidence this offseason when the Lions decided to move on from Josh Reynolds as the team’s number two wide receiver.

Now, Williams has a blank slate to show the football world what he can do. A high octane and high performing player at Alabama, similar circumstances prevented Williams from showing what he was capable of on a game-to-game basis, along with his relative youth.

Now 23 years old and entering what could be the prime of his career, Williams’ story is being written with each passing day, workout, jugs machine session and pitch-and-catch session with the Lions’ quarterbacks, including Jared Goff.

Williams could become one of the most dangerous and productive receivers in the league. If he at least becomes as dependable as Reynolds was last season (playoff drops notwithstanding), he could be the number one difference maker for an NFC Championship and Super Bowl appearance.

3. Aaron Glenn- 


The Lions’ offensive coordinator became a low-key fan favorite on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ Lions season, raising expectations for his future performance.

The jury is still out on Glenn in many fans’ eyes, but the full story behind his current career arc is that he hasn’t quite had the depth and talent necessary oversee a championship caliber defense.

The Lions have made plenty of shrewd moves on the defensive side of the ball both in the draft and free agency. Now it’s up to Glenn to develop them and put them in the right positions to succeed.

Glenn will have more talent to work with this season than any he’s been in the Motor City. If his defense stays healthy, expectations will continue to rise. Glenn has the intelligence, work ethic, and NFL experience as a former high performer at defensive back to put all the pieces of the puzzle together this season and beyond.

2. DJ Reader- 


The Lions got 11.5 sacks from star defensive end Aidan Hutchinson last season, a performance that still left fans clamoring for more. Hutchinson led the NFL in quarterback hits and was selected to the Pro Bowl, prompting a confident take on he and Detroit’s chances for improving in the wins column this season.

In 2024-2025, former Cincinnati Bengals star DJ Reader will give Hutchinson perhaps the most help he’s had along the defensive front in his entire career wearing the Honolulu Blue and Silver.

Reader’s stats don’t jump out at you, but with Hutchinson and Alim McNeill together at the two starting defensive tackle positions, the Lions appear set at that spot for years to come.

Reader was regarded as the Lions’ best offseason move according to reporter Mike Sando of The Athletic: 

“Adding D.J. Reader in free agency to bolster the defensive line comes with injury risk, but his all-out playing style seems like a great fit at a position of need for the Lions,” Sando wrote, adding that the Lions may need him to slow down the 49ers’ vaunted rushing attack in the NFC Championship Game or other playoff game this upcoming season.

1. Terrion Arnold- 


The 6-foot-, 196 pound cornerback from Alabama could become the best player at his position from the 2024 NFL Draft by the time his NFL career is all said and done.

One thing is for certain: the Lions could have used Arnold last season considering their relative lack of depth at the cornerback position. The selection of Arnold got an ‘A’ grade from 14 out of 19 evaluators recently among media pundits according to Lions Wire, a USA Today Lions website, including some A+ grades.

Arnold and Rakestraw will compete for a starting spot, with Arnold currently penciled in as the right starting cornerback alongside free agent addition and projected left starting cornerback Carlton Davis from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.