Detroit Lions: An under-the-radar defender to watch
With several of their defensive lineman sidelined, here’s one Detroit Lions’ defender flying under-the-radar who’s worth watching in the coming weeks.
One of the biggest areas of concern along this Detroit Lions‘ roster this offseason was the lack of pass rush. The Lions were tied for 30th in the NFL with only 26.0 total sacks as a team in 2016.
Detroit’s most touted pass rusher, defensive end Ziggy Ansah, recorded a just 2.0 sacks last year as he was slowed by a nagging ankle injury. The season prior, Ansah had recorded a career-high 14.5 sacks, earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl in the process.
Fingers crossed, the Motor City hopes Ansah will get back on track this upcoming season. But Ziggy could use some help. And according to one Lions’ insider, that boost could come from an unlikely source.
"“One player who entered camp under the radar, but is starting to make a name for himself, is defensive end Alex Barrett,” wrote Tim Twentyman on the team’s official website. “The undrafted rookie out of San Diego State has had a good week, and even took some first-team reps Wednesday opposite Kerry Hyder Jr. He’s a player to watch over the next two days in Indy and in Sunday’s preseason opener.”"
If Barrett wants a role model who knows a thing or two about finding success in the NFL as an undrafted rookie free agent, he only has to look over at teammate Kerry Hyder Jr. A former UDFA out of Texas Tech, Hyder surprised everyone last season by leading the Lions with 8.0 sacks.
Although Barrett wasn’t selected in the draft, that doesn’t mean the Lions aren’t heavily invested in him. Detroit’s Jim Caldwell was the only NFL head coach to call the undrafted free agent personally in order to get him to come to the Motor City. On top of that, the Lions’ paid Barrett a whopping $30,000 base salary guaranteed, along with a $6,000 signing bonus. That’s the biggest amount any UDFA received from Detroit this offseason.
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During his senior year at San Diego State, Alex Barrett recorded 53 total tackles, 13.0 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. He’s certainly someone we’ll all want to watch as the Detroit Lions’ start their preseason this weekend.