2020 Detroit Lions Roster Preview: What the defense and specialists offer

Da'Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Da'Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
3 of 5
Jahlani Tavai, Detroit Lions
Jahlani Tavai, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions Defensive Roster Preview: Linebackers

The Detroit Lions’ linebackers were certainly not the only problem with the defense last year, but they definitely weren’t the solution either. With the addition of a proven veteran and young talent aging, hopefully the position group can improve this season.

After a disappointing season, the Lions brought in Jamie Collins, who has extensive knowledge of Patricia and the defense he tries to run. Collins is a swiss-army knife on defense, able to take snaps from any linebacker position on the field. He had seven sacks, 10 tackles for a loss, three interceptions, and defended multiple passes last season, providing an impact both in the run game and the passing game.

After him, the Lions have team veterans Jarrad Davis and Christian Jones to lean on. Both of these linebackers are likely to get playing time at all of the linebacker spots, trying to find their best position to help Detroit. Davis has still yet to improve much from his rookie year but could improve if given a larger opportunity to play a different linebacker role.

Jones seems to have captured the unending trust of the Lions coaches and front office. His play does not inspire much confidence, however. That confidence can be found, though, in the form of second-year linebacker Jahlani Tavai.

Tavai played solidly last year and should be able to take on a larger role this year. He provides the Lions with fine linebacker play and isn’t too far off from being able to give them league-average play. I know that sounds like a small goal, but considering the much below-average play they have long been receiving from the position it is really more of a welcome addition.

Jalen Reeves-Maybin is another long-tenured linebacker with this front office and probably is the second-best coverage linebacker on the roster. He is also able to give the Lions good special teams play. Reggie Ragland is an interesting addition to the roster and he brings the prototypical size and strength you look for in a linebacker.

Ragland is another one of those linebackers who have never been able to put together his size with everything else. Maybe being with Patricia will help him, but seeing as how Davis has yet to put it all together hopes aren’t high. Ragland could help the team, but he will need to crawl closer to the potential his size indicates he has.

53-man roster prediction: Jamie Collins, Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones, Jahlani Tavai, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Reggie Ragland