2015 Detroit Lions Defensive Line: Asset or Liability

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CJ Mosley/Andre Fluellen vs 2015 Caraun Reid

Aug 20, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46) carries the ball as Detroit Lions defensive tackle Caraun Reid (97) and Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) make the tackle in the first quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

CJ Mosley became a de facto starter in 2014 when Nick Fairley succumbed to injury. While not nearly as talented as the player he replaced, Mosley kept the run defense on track. The Lions lost a substantial amount of interior pass rush with Mosley and needed to add a veteran who could provide a bit more interior pressure.

Nov 24, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive tackle Andre Fluellen (96) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Enter Andre Fluellen.

As has been the case seemingly every winter since 2008 when Fluellen (also known as ‘Flu’) was drafted, Detroit found a way to catch the ‘Flu’ before the curtain closed on the 2014 season. Though he’d never consistently played well in his previous stint, Fluellen provided a spark to the Lions defense by complimenting Mosley’s bruising style of play with a bit of sleight of hand.

While Mosley and Fluellen have their merits both lack upside. For a short time some questioned whether the same could be said of Caraun Reid who looked completely out of place in 2014.

Fortunately, 2015 Caraun Reid looks nothing like the player the Lions drafted a year earlier. Over the off-season Reid reportedly worked out with a ‘former Lion’ to reshape his physique and study film. The extra work seems to have paid off too as Reid was on a tear before an injury sidelined him.

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To say Reid struggled to acclimate to the pro game in 2014 is an understatement. However, this preseason Reid emerged as the NFL’s most disruptive interior pass rusher creating pressure on 11.6% of his pass rush attempts.

While one cannot necessarily draw the conclusion Reid’s preseason performance will have any direct correlation on what he produces in the regular season, it should suffice as proof Reid is trending upward and will not be the defense’s weakest link in 2014.

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Next: Nick Fairley vs. Tyrunn Walker