Detroit Lions: Could this free agent help the pass rush?
In preseason action, against top competition, the Detroit Lions failed to rise to the occasion. The pass rush needs a boost from a solid veteran.
Yesterday, the San Francisco 49ers released long-time veteran outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks. At the age of 33, he has a solid professional resume and leadership skills. The Detroit Lions lack both and the need for a pass rusher with a pedigree of getting after the quarterback is crucial.
Since joining the 49ers as a full-time starter in 2011, he has never had fewer than 6.0 sacks and has 40.5 sacks in that span. Brooks also has the ability to cover, totaling 24 passes defended along with two interceptions, one of which returned for a score.
Transitioning from a 3-4 outside linebacker to a 4-3 defensive end won’t be an issue. Brooks has plenty experience rushing with his hand in the dirt. Although he can play on both sides of the defensive front, he is at his best and does most of his damage on the left side.
This is good considering a resting Ziggy Ansah plays predominantly on the right side. Both veterans can be on the field at once and be most effective at their respective spots.
The New England Patriots were able to expose the Detroit Lions’ lack of pass rush in last nights preseason tilt. Injuries and youth/inexperience are all factors the Lions have been dealing with this offseason. If they pursued a pass rusher of Brooks’ caliber, who actually finished with a sack against the Patriots in Week 11 of 2016, Detroit would be much better off come the regular season.
Four out of the past six seasons, he played and started in all 16 games. Two games in 2015 and three games in 2014 is all he missed during that time. Availability and above-average/consistent play from a hybrid linebacker/defensive end is hard to find this late in the offseason.
What might be the best part about Brooks is how affordable he is. $4.45 million is what he was set to make before being cut by San Francisco. That’s an affordable figure for a cap-strapped team like the Lions, if he even makes that much.
Detroit would use Brooks more as a pass rusher. He would see less snaps in coverage now that he plays in a 4-3 alignment.
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As a result, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to see an uptick in pass rush productivity. Ansah has never played with a guy of Brooks’ talent level. It could be quite the dynamic duo should the two ever join forces.