Detroit at San Francisco: Lions DNA profile

September, 20, 2008
9/20/08
5:57
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The 49ers face one of the NFL's least-acclaimed rosters when the Lions visit Candlestick Park in Week 3. Detroit features only three players with Pro Bowl credentials. Kicker Jason Hanson is one of them. One of the others, running back Rudi Johnson, was released by the Bengals.

By my count, the Lions are the only team in the league without a single current or former Pro Bowl player on defense.

The Lions are one of the more confounding teams on the 49ers' schedule this season. A quick look at Detroit's roided-out roster offers a few clues. The Lions' 53-man roster features only four players from its 2005 and 2006 draft classes. The other 31 NFL teams have an average of eight. A league-high seven Lions backups entered the NFL as second-round draft choices.

Eight Lions starters are 30 or older, a figure that ranks tied for second behind Washington. Detroit's starting offensive line is fourth-oldest in the league. Overall, the Lions have the fifth-oldest starters in the league and the seventh-oldest roster. That's not a good sign for a team that hasn't won anything of significance.

Head coach Rod Marinelli built his reputation as a defensive line coach. The Lions are carrying 11 defensive linemen, tied for the league high and two more than the typical team that uses the 4-3. As a result, the Lions are carrying one fewer receiver and one fewer tight end than average.

For more on the Lions, check out Kevin Seifert's NFC North blog. Here's a direct link to Lions-related items on his blog.

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