The Detroit Lions defense has numerous places in need of remodeling, but at least they have a center piece to build around in Damon “Snacks” Harrison.
As defensive standouts and future Hall of Famers like Los Angeles Rams’ defensive tackles Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh proved this season, a great defense can not only lead a team to the Super Bowl, but it can also be built around elite entire line play. Detroit Lions fans should dream that their defense is as good as that one day.
The Rams proved that the biggest cog in a prime defensive scheme can literally and figuratively be the defense tackles who eat up the A-gap and shorten a quarterbacks stay in the pocket.
While he may not be as shifty as Donald or Suh, defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison proved to be an effective trade piece for the Lions, as the 350-pounder racked up 81 total tackles, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 17 games in 2018, with 10 of those games being played for the Lions.
Harrison’s elite play from this past season has not gone unnoticed, as he wasn’t recently ranked 40th out of the top 101 players in the NFL by Pro Football Focus, with PFF’s Ben Cooper’s singing the big man’s praises.
"“Damon Harrison has long been one of the elite interior defenders in the NFL and 2018 was no different, and his run defense grade of 93.8 ranked first out of 128 qualifying interior defenders. With 46 run stops on 288 run defense snaps, Harrison ranked first in run-stop percentage (16.0-percent) at the position.”"
The recognition doesn’t stop there for the run stopper, as Harrison was also named PFF’s Run Defender of the Year a few weeks ago.
The impact that Harrison made this season goes beyond statistics, as his influence in the locker room as a fun, yet commanding helped younger guys to buy into the process, as linebacker Devon Kennard, who played with Harrison previously on the New York Giants, told DetroitLions.com’s Tim Twentyman.
"“What I love about Snacks is he’s a good teammate. He’s a good friend of mine and he comes and brings it on Sundays. That’s something I admire and respect. He brought an attitude to the defense that was a great addition … ”"
Statistics and Lions players can agree: Harrison makes a huge impact on and off the field. But with Harrison changing agents this offseason, it’s unclear what who intends to play football for come the 2019 season.
Detroit Lions fans better hope that general manager Bob Quinn can find the money in the budget to resign the All-Pro, as Damon Harrison continues to be one of the best run stoppers in football and a player that the Lions need to build their defense around.