Detroit Lions: Will defensive line be a problem again this season?

Trey Flowers, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Trey Flowers, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The defensive line was one of the biggest problems for the Detroit Lions in 2019, will it continue this year?

After watching last year’s sad display of a defensive front, the Detroit Lions knew that they’d have to address the area coming into this season. There is clearly a lot of room for improvement there.

In order to address those issues early on in the offseason, the Detroit Lions brought in defensive tackles Danny Shelton formally of the New England Patriots and Nick Williams from the Chicago Bears. Two big guys that the Lions can plug into the middle of the defensive line and hopefully improve the run defense.

But what about pass rushers? That’s the real question considering the unit was ranked third to last in sacks and pressure rate last year. The Detroit Lions haven’t really added any premier pass rushers so far but did draft defensive end Julian Okwara in this year’s draft. If he can stay healthy this year, he could seriously improve the pass rush opposite side of defensive end, Trey Flowers.

The Detroit Lions also drafted two defensive lineman late in this year’s draft. Those guys being Jashon Cornell out of Ohio State and John Penisini from Utah. Cornell is known for being a quick, and athletic. He switched from defensive end to defensive line in 2019. It’s possible the Lions try to utilize him in some pass-rushing situations.

In just the last few days the Detroit Lions did make some roster moves, those moves placing defensive ends Austin Bryant on Active/PUP and Romeo Okwara on Active/NFI. Putting in jeopardy the possibility of a dominating defensive front.

Austin Bryant is interesting because the Detroit Lions were really counting on him to step up this year after missing most of the 2019 season and possibly be a steady rotational player. Which he still could, but it’s not a great sign to start the season off on PUP list, as he did last year as well.

After the recent transaction moves the Detroit Lions did add defensive lineman Daylon Mack from the Baltimore Ravens waivers. He only appeared in one game the Ravens after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2019 class. With us being so shorthanded on the defensive line he could defiantly make the final roster.

What about the current free agent defensive ends that are still available?

There are still quite a few big-name pass rushers out on the market that a lot of Detroit Lions fans would like to see signed. Some of them being defensive ends Everson Griffen and Jadeveon Clowney.

Personally, I don’t think the Lions should sign either of these guys. Griffen is sort of old at 32 and won’t be as effective as he used to be, and Clowney is possibly asking too much money for how many injury problems and surgeries he’s had on his knee. There’s a reason both those guys are still unsigned.

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The whole front seven for the Detroit Lions is going to look a lot different than last year. The Lions have a lot of promising young players, it just seems that staying healthy is a major issue. With players like Da’Shawn Hand, Jahlani Tavai, and Julian Okwara the future is bright for the coming years.

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Overall, I do see this group improving immensely. With the addition of first-year defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, who I believe is a major improvement from previous coordinator Paul Pasqualoni and will utilize different types of blitz packages. This should defiantly put the Detroit Lions in position to be a much better defensive football team.