May 27, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Caraun Reid (97) during OTA at Detroit Lions Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
One of the biggest camp battles this year is at defensive tackle. Haloti Ngata is going to start as the 1-tech but the starting 3-tech is still undecided. Before OTAs started, Tyrunn Walker was penciled in as the starter but recently Caraun Reid has made a strong push. His offseason work seems to be paying off, he had a better game on Thursday than Tyrunn and is making a strong case to be the starting 3-tech.
One of Caraun’s biggest problems in this game was dealing with double teams in the run game. He gets sealed on a combo block here and allows a huge hole to open up in his place. He needs to be much stronger at the point of attack and not allow himself to be blown out of plays this easily. He was sealed a number of times because he couldn’t maintain his balance at the point of attack against double teams. Once he lost his balance he was out of the play and a huge hole is paved.
There have been a couple of plays in a row where Caraun has been a huge liability in the run game. He had some bad plays but it wasn’t all negative. This play above shows him hold up against the double team and eventually break off his block to funnel towards the ball carrier. Caruan has the strength to hold up against double teams he just needs to become more consistent at the point of attack and maintain his balance through blocks a better. If he can become more consistent in this area he can be a huge contributor to the Lions defense. His first step is very good and he is a perfect fit to shoot gaps as a 3-tech.
On this play Caraun has great burst off the line of scrimmage and jolts the offensive lineman with a strong first punch. He maintains his pad level throughout contact and delivers a powerful bull rush. He controls the blocker from the start and turns him giving him a clear shot at the quarterback. He finishes hard on the play and splits the sack with Devin Taylor who also beat his blocker with ease. Taylor faked outside, then bursts inside around the tackle to fight through his block and to get to the quarterback. This play shows Caraun’s potential, he can dominate in one on one opportunities and has the strength to toss aside blockers.
He is best suited as a pass rushing threat right now but has the potential to become an all around defensive tackle. He is in the driver seat for the starting job, he has looked sharp in training camp and had a much better performance in the first preseason game. He has made incredible progress this offseason, and his development will be huge as the Lions try to replace Ndamukong Suh.
Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrunn didn’t have a terrible game, he made some plays in the run game and was reasonably disruptive as a pass rusher. He had some problems with disengaging from blockers, but was able to get some penetration into the backfield on a number of plays. He looks very strong at the point of attack and has the same burst that he showed as a New Orleans Saint. (check out my article on his time there here).
Tyrunn had a couple rough plays in the run game. The two plays above were probably his worst plays of the night. One the first one he is controlled from the start by the guard. He grabs a hold of him and turns him away from the designated hole allowing Ivory a free rushing lane. He needs to win this one on one battle and plant himself in the hole. The second play he gets dominated by a double team, the initial jolt knocks him back and the lineman finishes him off on the play. He again vacates his gap and allows the Jets to run right at him. If he fought through that block or anchored at the point of attack this would of been a negative play instead of a 3 yard gain.
This play shows what can happen if Caraun Reid and Tyrunn Walker play to their potential. Caraun shoots the gap hard and penetrates into the backfield forcing the play to the left (remember disruption is production). Tyrunn reads the play from his block and disengages right into the hole to tackle the running back for a short gain. Tyrunn needs to learn to consistently use his hands to fight through blocks and disengage like he does on this play to become a consistent run defender.
On this play Tyrunn shows off his impressive bullrush. He gets off the line of scrimmage very quickly and has very good leverage at the point of attack. He has great hand placement as he drives the center into the backfield. Tyrunn pressures the quarterback and makes him a little uncomfortable but can’t disengage to sack the quarterback.
We should see more from Tyrunn Walker and Caraun Reid as the preseason goes along. Regardless of who starts this season both players are in line for a large number of snaps considering how much the Lions rotate their defensive lineman. They both have all of the talent necessary to be successful defensive tackles, they just need to become more consistent to become full time impact players.
Next: Laken Tomlinson's Big Debut