Detroit Lions: Defense will almost be unrecognizable in 2019

Da'Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Da'Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images /

Defensive Line

If any position group has performed to everyone expectations that would be the defensive line…and that’s not a good thing. The defensive line was being regarded as a very weak point on the Detroit Lions defense and they proved everyone right.

They didn’t have anyone to pass rush and the run defense was in question as well. If any position group that needs severe attention this offseason, it’s this one. Likely the draft and free agency offer quite a few options that should help the defensive line.

The current players on the roster that should return next year are Damon Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, and Da’Shawn Hand. They will be the foundation to the line going into next year. When the Lions acquired Harrison in a trade with the New York Giants, that sealed Ricky Jean-Francois‘ fate with the Lions. He was brought in on a one-year deal and his role has been decreasing since Harrison arrived.

Ezekiel Ansah has been a disappointment this season. After the Lions slapped the franchise tag on him, expectations were high considering the Lions didn’t really have anyone outside of him to pass rush.

Ansah made it through 19 snaps in the first game of the season before he got injured. He has returned the last two games but in a very limited role. Ansah’s price tag will be very high this offseason and I don’t think a return to Detroit is in the cards.

Romeo Okwara, Kerry Hyder, and Eric Lee all have one year left on their contracts. Hyder has either been a healthy scratch or very limited this year so his return is unlikely. Okwara has been a diamond in the rough this year after picking him up from waivers. He has filled in nicely as Ansah’s replacement while he was injured. If I can see anyone coming back, it could be him. All depends on what the Lions do in free agency and the draft.

Next. Top Five Video Game Detroit Lions of All Time. dark

The Lions defense will have a different look in 2019. Majority of the players currently on the roster have severely underperformed and probably out of Detroit after this season. With the draft being highly regarded for defensive players, this is a perfect draft to fill a number of those needs. Along filling in with free agency, this defense will have a whole different look coming into 2019.