Detroit Lions 2013 Breakout Player Projections

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Nov 18, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley (98) celebrates during the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are fresh off of one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history. That’s certainly something considering how poor the franchise has been in recent years, but last year was one of the first times in a long time that Detroit actually had some expectations.

Those expectations were slowly crushed over the course of the season as the Lions wound up picking fifth in the 2013 NFL Draft after a horrendous 2012 campaign.

In the 2013 offseason, the Lions attacked some key weaknesses by signing running back Reggie Bush and safety Glover Quin, as well as drafting defensive end Ezekiel Ansah and cornerback Darius Slay.

This is a solid looking roster, the Lions just need some players to step out and have breakout seasons. Here are three players–one from each of the last three drafts–that could make a bigger name for themselves in 2013.

Third Year — Nick Fairley, DT

Well, this was an easy selection considering only two players remain from the Lions’ 2011 draft class, remarkably enough. After playing only 10 games as a rookie in 2011, Fairley played in 13 games last season and had 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles playing next to Ndamukong Suh.

Fairley has slimmed down according to teammate Stephen Tulloch, and is working hard to improve this offseason. I think he has a chance to become a top defensive tackle in the NFL with some more seasoning, especially playing next to Suh.

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