Doors open and close. With injuries to a few edge rushers, the Detroit Lions have a few players ready to step up, but only one named Eli Harold.
Unfortunate but predictable, the Detroit Lions sent franchise-tagged defensive end Ziggy Ansah (shoulder) to injured reserve. On the opposite side, Devon Kennard (hip) is battling issues of his own. One pass rusher is raring to capitalize on playing time.
Traded from the San Francisco 49ers this offseason, outside linebacker Eli Harold has a prime opportunity to earn his stripes and prove he can stick around Motown beyond 2018. His contract is up following this season.
Harold is the only pass rusher that fits the mold of a stand-up edge rusher other than Kennard. Based on that alone, his snaps will increase substantially.
Ansah exiting the lineup hurts. He has his replacements but none can thrive as a 3-4 outside linebacker the way number 57 should.
Romeo Okwara has stepped up huge, Eric Lee has filled in here-and-there and Kerry Hyder continues to be almost nonexistent as he’s rebounding from a serious Achilles injury. Not much competition really if you think about it.
All the above I mentioned aren’t the most athletic either and fit the bill as 4-3 defensive ends who are better with a hand on the turf. In this Detroit defense, they’re called more upon to rush inside as slightly undersized 3-4 defensive ends to help compensate for the lack of speed and quickness.
Harold hasn’t played a ton but his 4.0 sacks in limited action are proof this fast linebacker belongs with the Lions. These last three games are an audition to earn another contract from this organization.
The explosive traits necessary to thrive as an edge rusher are there. Age (month shy of 25) is also in his favor, with lots of room to grow.
That third round draft status is starting to come to fruition. By the way things are progressing, the Detroit Lions should definitely re-sign Eli Harold.