The 10 Detroit Lions Best Players of All Time

Are you curious to learn about the Detroit Lions best players? For a true football fan, there’s nothing quite like delving into the rich history of a team and discovering the players who have left their indelible mark on the game. And for those who bleed Honolulu blue and silver, the Detroit Lions are a team with an amazing past and a proud tradition.

In this blog post, I’ll be showcasing the best players who have left stunning performances and solidified their place in Lions’ history.

From the gritty determination of Barry Sanders to the precision passing of Matthew Stafford, I’ll be highlighting the players who truly made a difference.

Here are the Detroit Lions Best Players Overview

Barry Sanders1989–1998
Joe Schmidt1953–1965
Calvin Johnson2007–2015
Bobby Layne1950–1958
Lem Barney1967–1977
Matthew Stafford2009–2020
Jason Hanson1992–2012
Alex Karras1958–1962, 1964–1970
Herman Moore1991–2001
Night Train Lane1960–1965

So whether you’re a lifelong Lions fan or just want to know lions football history, join me as I reveal the Detroit Lions’ all-time best players.

1. Barry Sanders

Full NameBarry Sanders
Date of BirthJuly 16, 1968
Place of BirthWichita, Kansas, U.S.
Age54 Years
Height and Weight5 ft 8 in (1.73 m) & 200 lb (91 kg)
NFL Draft1989 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Other Teams
Net Worth$30 Million

Barry Sanders is a name synonymous with excellence in the game of football, particularly with the Detroit Lions.

Sanders was a ten-time Pro Bowler, six-time First-team All-Pro, and one-time NFL MVP in 1997. He was also elected to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He holds many Lions records, and his impressive list of accomplishments led to his election of him as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

Sanders’s quickness, agility, and elusiveness made him one of the most challenging running backs to tackle in the NFL. He retired as the third leading rusher in NFL history and still holds many Lions records.

2. Joe Schmidt

Full NameJoseph Paul Schmidt
Date of BirthJanuary 19, 1932
Place of BirthPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Height and Weight6 ft and 220 lb
NFL Draft1953 / Round: 7 / Pick: 85
Other Teams
Net Worth$5 Million

Joe Schmidt was the Pro Football Hall of Famer and an excellent linebacker who played for the Detroit Lions and is considered one of the greatest linebackers in Lions history.

He was a main player of the Lions teams that won three NFL championships in the 1950s and was a five-time first-team All-Pro selection and an eight-time Pro Bowler. He played in the era when the Lions were considered one of the best teams in the NFL.

He was highly respected for his leadership, intelligence, and coaching abilities on the field, being the Lions coach from 1967 to 1972.

Schmidt’s effect on the Lions team is still felt today, and he is considered one of the most prominent players in the record of the Detroit Lions.

3. Calvin Johnson

Full NameCalvin Johnson Jr.
Date of BirthSeptember 29, 1985
Height and Weight6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) & 237 lb (108 kg)
Place of BirthNewnan, Georgia, U.S.
NFL Draft2007 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Other Teams
Net Worth$45 Million

Calvin Johnson, known as “Megatron,” is considered to be one of the foremost players in the history of the Detroit Lions. He played for the team and established himself as one of the peak wide receivers in the NFL.

He was a six-time Pro Bowler, three-time First-team All-Pro, and holds many records, like most receptions in a season (122) and most receiving yards in a season (1,964), and many more.

He was also known for his size, speed, and incredible athletic ability, which made him a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Johnson retired as the Lions’ all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He was in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

4. Bobby Layne

Full NameRobert Lawrence Layne
Date of BirthDecember 19, 1926
Place of BirthSanta Anna, Texas, U.S.
Date of DeathDecember 1, 1986
Height and Weight1.86 m & 91 kg
NFL Draft1948 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Other TeamsChicago Bears, New York Bulldogs, Pittsburgh Steelers
Net Worth$19 Million

Bobby Layne, better known as “Sweet Bobby,” during his time. The Hall of Famer quarterback for the Detroit Lions was a three-time MVP who led the NFL in passing yards and passing touchdowns twice.

Layne led the Lions to their first winning season, a 9-3 mark in 1957 that helped lead to their first playoff appearance under Layne’s helm. He was a six-time Pro Bowler and was named to the Pro Bowl in five consecutive seasons from 1951-1955. He was also named to the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team. Layne’s statistics were impressive as well; he held many records.

He retired as the top points scorer, passer, and leader of wins by a quarterback in NFL history.

5. Lem Barney

Full NameLemuel Joseph Barney
Date of BirthSeptember 8, 1945
Height and Weight6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) & 188 lb (85 kg)
Place of BirthGulfport, Mississippi
NFL Draft1967 / Round: 2 / Pick: 34
Other Teams
Net Worth$5 Million

Lem Barney played as a cornerback and kick returner for the Lions. He was known for his speed and strong tackling ability.

He was a seven-time Pro Bowler and was named to the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team. During his time with the Lions, Barney made many important plays that helped the team win games.

He was a leader on the team, and his teammates looked up to him. He had 56 interceptions and scored seven touchdowns during his 11-year career with the Lions.

He was very involved in his community and assisted numerous individuals through his humanitarian efforts. In 1992, he was in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

His services to the Detroit Lions will forever be known since he was a terrific player and a great person.

6. Matthew Stafford

Full NameJohn Matthew Stafford
Date of BirthFebruary 7, 1988
Place of BirthTampa, Florida, U.S.
Height and Weight6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) & 220 lb (100 kg)
NFL Draft2009 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Other TeamsLos Angeles Rams
Net Worth$80 Million

Former Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is regarded by many as one of the most eminent players in franchise history and the best quarterback to ever play for the team.

He holds many Lions records, like most touchdown passes in a season (41), most passing yards in a season (5,038), and many more.

During his time with the Lions, Stafford made many important plays that helped the team win games. Even though Stafford did not win any major awards or accolades during his time with the Lions, his contributions to the team were significant. His leadership and ability to make big plays helped the team to many victories.

Despite all other things, Still, he won the 2009 Capital One Bowl MVP and the 2006 Chick-fil-A Bowl Offensive MVP.

7. Jason Hanson

Full NameJason Hanson
Date of BirthJune 17, 1970
Place of BirthSpokane, Washington, U.S.
Height and Weight6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) & 190 lb (86 kg)
NFL Draft1992 / Round: 2 / Pick: 56
Other Teams
Net Worth$15 Million

Jason Hanson is the Lions’ all-time leading scorer with 2,150 points and 495 career field goals.

He finished his entire 21-year career with the Detroit Lions and is regarded as one the main kickers in the history of the NFL. His exceptional consistency and precision on the field obtained him a spot in the Pro Bowl four times.

He was known for his strong leg, accuracy, and consistency on the field. He holds many records in the NFL, like most 50+ yard field goals made (52), most games played with one team (327), and many more.

Hanson’s influence on the game was significant as he accumulated the fourth-highest points in NFL history by the time he bid farewell to professional football in 2012.

8. Alex Karras

Full NameAlexander George Karras
Date of BirthJuly 15, 1935
Date of DeathOctober 10, 2012
Height and Weight6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) & 248 lb (112 kg)
Place of BirthGary, Indiana, U.S.
NFL Draft1958 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10
Other Teams
Net Worth$6 Million

Alex Karras was known for his unique face, size, strength, and quickness on the field. He is not just a footballer but also a well-known actor.

Alex was a four-time Pro Bowler, two-time First-team All-Pro, and was named to the Pro Bowl in four consecutive seasons from 1960-1963. He was also named to the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team.

He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 by Iowa Sports and the Hall of Fame in 1991 (College Football).

9. Herman Moore

Full NameHerman Joseph Moore
Date of BirthOctober 20, 1969
Height and Weight6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) & 210 lb (95 kg)
Place of BirthDanville, Virginia, U.S.
NFL Draft1991 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10
Other TeamsNew York Giants
Net Worth$5 Million

Herman Moore was a wide receiver in the NFL for 12 seasons.

Moore rapidly established himself as one of the finest players on the squad despite a rough start as a rookie in which he appeared in thirteen games with one start and had only 11 receptions during the regular season.

From 1995 to 1997, Moore was regarded as one of the prime wide receivers in the NFL. The only other player in NFL history to record three consecutive 100-catch seasons was Jerry Rice. He won Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro honors each year. In 1995, he set the record for the most receptions in a season with 123.

He was not inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame due to being overshadowed by other prominent players on his squad, such as Barry Sanders. Moore is dissatisfied with this decision and believes his contributions merit induction.

10. Night Train Lane

Full NameDick “Night Train” Lane
Date of BirthApril 16, 1928
Place of BirthAustin, Texas
Date of DeathJanuary 29, 2002
Height and Weight6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) & 194 lb (88 kg)
Other TeamsLos Angeles Rams, Chicago Cardinals
Net Worth$5 Million

Dick “Night Train” Lane is known as one of the most defensive players in NFL history, and his aggressive style of play and his ability to intercept passes.

With the Lions, Lane continued to excel as a defensive back and helped lead the team to three NFL championship game appearances. He was picked out to the Pro Bowl seven times and was named to the NFL’s All-Pro team six times during his career.

Lane retired from the NFL in 1965 and was in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974.


The Lions have had a rich history of exceptional talent throughout their years in the NFL. From the electrifying running of Barry Sanders to the spectacular receptions of Calvin Johnson, the team has been fortunate to have some of the most elite players in the league don the Honolulu blue and silver. The list of the Detroit Lions best players is a testament to the skill and enthusiasm of these athletes.

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A.H. Mostofa Zaman is the chief editor of The News Titan. He is a professional journalist who focuses on reporting on the American Football news from the world of entertainment. He is determined in his quest to provide you with the most recent information and coverage available from all across the world.


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