As Matt Patricia rounds out his staff, will one of them be reunited with their star pupil through the Detroit Lions’ first selection in the draft?
The Detroit Lions were finally able to officially introduce Matt Patricia as their new head coach last Wednesday. Since then Patricia has been filling out his staff. Some were names we had heard of in the rumor mill. Others are just coming to light.
Two members of Patricia’s growing staff are former Boston College defensive line coach, Paul Pasqualoni, who will serve as the Lions defensive coordinator and former University of Texas-San Antonio defensive line coach, Bo Davis, who will fill the same position in Detroit. Pasqueloni has a long history with Patricia while Davis does not.
Most of us know by now that Paul Pasqualoni was the head coach at Syracuse University back in 2001 when he gave Patricia his big break to join the staff of the Orangemen, as they were known at the time. Now 17 years later it is the reverse, so to speak.
Meanwhile Bo Davis has a connection to the Lions from the standpoint that he coached A’Shawn Robinson at the University of Alabama. Robinson made great strides under his guidance and Patricia hopes for the same to happen here in Detroit.
Both have pretty good track records, especially with defensive linemen. With that being the case, are the Lions interested in reuniting one of them with a former pupil?
We are now just over two months away from the 2018 NFL Draft. Detroit could use their first pick in a number of ways because of multiple needs. However, due to the overwhelming depth of running backs this year and the fact that very few interior offensive linemen go early in the draft, it does seem to lead us to believe that the Lions will probably fortify their defensive line which was fast becoming toothless as this past season wore on.
Despite three rotational defensive linemen landing on the injured reserve in the preseason, the Lions defense actually started the year fast. Yet the week five injury to defensive tackle Haloti Ngata seemed to be the last straw. Suddenly the Lions were unable to stop anyone on the ground.
Adding to the defensive woes was the fact that these Lions couldn’t produce a consistent pass-rush. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah led the team with 12 sacks, but nine of them were recorded in just three games. The remaining games he played in were just as inconsistent for Ansah as his fellow linemates.
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Now that Ansah is a free agent, the Lions need to decide if they want to re-sign him. This of course brings the conundrum of which Ansah will they get if they re-sign him? The nine sacks in three games or the injury plagued player who was unable to produce to his talent level?
These are some of the factors that will weigh into what the Lions do on April 26th. Another big factor will be what the Lions are able to accomplish in free agency.
All things being equal as of right now, I would say that it would not be a surprise if Lions general manager Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia decide to use what inside information they will get from Pasqualoni and Davis, in conjunction with the scouting department, to decide who their first round pick will be.
A pick they could use on one of two promising defensive ends. Either Marcus Davenport of the University of Texas-San Antonio or Harold Landry of Boston College.
The 6’6″ 260 lb Davenport has put the University of Texas-San Antonio on the map and after an impressive week of workouts at the Senior Bowl, capped with an outstanding game, he is moving up draft boards quickly. There have been some comparisons between Davenport and the Lions own Ziggy Ansah when he arrived out of college.
Needless to say the Lions wouldn’t mind another end with that type of ability.
Meanwhile Landry is more of a tweener. At 6’3″ and 250 lbs he is categorized as an edge rusher. Some scouts see him as an outside linebacker others can visualize him at end. The thing he brings to the table is the fact that he would be perfect in Patricia’s multiple defenses.
He would be a player that, depending on the game plan or even in game adjustments, could utilize his edge speed from either position, if not outright switching it up almost from play to play. Landry is a versatile type of defender much like Patricia used to value with the New England Patriots.
Whether the Lions decide to bring Ansah back or not, either Davenport or Landry would be able to provide much needed help to a team that struggled to get to opposing passers.
There is plenty of time before the Detroit Lions will be on the clock for the 2018 draft and things can change quickly between now and then depending on free agency and even trades, but it certainly wouldn’t be a shocker to see either Pasqualoni or Davis reunited with their prized student in Detroit.