The Detroit Lions had their fair share of defensive struggles last season. But the defense will be much improved if these three players have breakout seasons.
The Detroit Lions are currently in the process of searching for players who can return them to the playoffs in 2019. One area the team is sure to address is defense as head coach Matt Patricia continues to mold this group to fit his diverse defensive scheme.
But perhaps the biggest boost will come from those who are already on the roster. With the current group in mind, here are three Lions’ defenders who are poised to have a breakout season in the Motor City.
Tracy Walker, Safety
The Lions released longtime safety Glover Quin recently to presumably make way for Tracy Walker, a 2018 third-round selection out of Louisiana-Lafayette. In limited action, Walker impressed and appears to be the penciled in as the starter this upcoming season. The 24-year old is positioned to have a breakout second season and Detroit desperately needs it to happen.
Romeo Okwara, Defensive End
It could be argued that Romeo Okwara, a flier waiver claim from last season, already had a break out year in Detroit leading the team with 7.5 sacks in 2018. Just 23-years old, the sky is the limit for the 2016 undrafted player out of Notre Dame.
With improved play expected from interior linemen like Damon Harrison, A’Shawn Robinson, and Da’Shawn Hand, Okwara should get plenty of opportunities to sack opposing quarterbacks in 2019. That’s as long as the Lions are willing to pay to keep the restricted free agent around.
Eli Harold, Linebacker
A trade landed the former third rounder in Detroit last season. And Eli Harold rewarded the Lions for their faith by posting a career-high 4.0 sacks while playing in less than 19 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in 2019. After toiling with the San Francisco 49ers for three seasons, the Motor City seems to have revitalized Harold’s career.
Eli Harold is scheduled to become a free agent next month, but it’s easy to see why the Lions would want to re-sign him. With a full offseason in Detroit under his belt, the 25-year old could take the next step in his development this upcoming season.