The Detroit Lions spent a pretty penny to acquire the services of former Patriot defender Trey Flowers. What difference can he make in 2019?
This offseason, it was clear who the Detroit Lions‘ top free agent target was. With Detroit still trying to adopt the Patriot Way following the team’s first season under head coach Matt Patricia, the Lions were the likely destination for any free agent who had previously called New England their home.
Patricia had spent the previous 14 years as a member of the New England Patriots in some capacity, his last six seasons under the tutelage of Pats’ head coach Bill Belichick as the team’s defensive coordinator.
So the connection was easily made to the Motor City this offseason when one of the top free agents hitting the open market was an ex-Patriot defender. That player being defensive end Trey Flowers. Selected in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Arkansas, Flowers landed in New England with Patricia as his defensive coordinator.
And after a rookie season severely shortened by injury, Flowers proceeded to post a combined 164 tackles, 21.0 sacks, and five forced fumbles over the past three years. And in each one of those seasons, the four-year defensive end has been the Patriots’ sack leader. Flowers has helped to lead New England to three-straight Super Bowl appearances and left twice hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
The Lions landed their big fish in March, inking Flowers to a monstrous five-year, $90 million deal with a whopping $40 million guaranteed. Here’s what Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner wrote about Flower’s immediate impact on the Lions’ defense should be in 2019.
"“The Lions had, without a doubt, the worst starting edge duo in the NFL last season. Among edge defenders with at least 500 snaps, Romeo Okwara had the third-lowest pass-rushing grade (50.3) and Devon Kennard had the second-worst (50.0). Flowers 64 pressures and 80.6 pass-rushing grade will be a massive upgrade.”"
Flowers figures to improve the Lions’ defense in three main ways in 2019. One, his extensive experience in Patricia’s defensive scheme should allow him to accumulate quickly while helping to better teach the system to others around him.
Two, Flowers’ presence in the locker room as a leader should aid in the culture change general manager Bob Quinn and Patricia are trying to implement. Finally, his presence on the field should give Detroit a consistent defensive performer who has a championship pedigree.
In Detroit, Flowers essentially assumes the role previously held by former first-round defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. After numerous injury-plagued seasons, the Lions parted ways with Ansah this offseason. Now the 30-year old pass rusher known as Ziggy is a member of the Seattle Seahawks.
In Trey Flowers, the Detroit Lions get consistency from the defensive end position they rarely experienced from Ziggy Ansah. Expect the 25-year old to establish a leadership role this summer. And due to his previous knowledge of Matt Patricia’s defensive scheme, Flowers could post career-numbers in a system he’s won two Super Bowl rings in four years under.