There are some players available that would fit well in the Detroit Lions defense
Last season, the Detroit Lions defensive unit as a whole was atrocious. They gave up the most passing yards, tied for the least amount of interceptions and tied for the second least amount of sacks.
The secondary was revamped as they brought in a bunch of new faces like linebacker Jamie Collins, safety Duron Harmon, cornerback Desmond Trufant, and drafted his partner, cornerback Jeff Okudah with the third overall pick and other players.
With a new and hopefully improved secondary, the defensive line is probably the weakest unit of all the positions and could be considered the Achilles heel of the team. As they tied for the second least amount of sacks with 28, not much was done to try and improve that and if anything, the pass rush was depleted.
They let go of defensive tackles Damon Harrison and A’Shawn Robinson in which they were replaced with defensive tackles Danny Shelton and Nick Williams in which they combined for nine sacks (six of them coming from Williams).
While they were able to replace the departures of Harrison and Robinson, they did so with less than ideal players in which they were more brought in to have bodies on the line. As the Lions were given a win-now mentality by ownership, they need to do something about the pass rush to succeed on the field.
One player they could have gone after was defensive end Everson Griffen which I wrote an article on whether the Lions should pursue him not too long ago. As I mentioned at the end, if the Lions were able to get him on a one-year deal, he’d be worth it.
Griffen ended up signing a one-year deal for $6 million with the Dallas Cowboys. Perhaps, the Lions could have given him a little more money, say $7.5-8 million to play in Detroit for a year to bolster the pass rush.
Now that he’s signed, that opportunity has sailed which moves on to a few other players the Lions could pursue to help improve on last year’s lackluster of sacks. One player they could sign is defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
With the Seattle Seahawks last season, Clowney only totaled three sacks but was selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2016-2018 and had at least nine sacks in 2017 and 2018. As Clowney will need to prove that 2019 was just a down year, the Lions should attempt to bring him in on a one year deal.
Another player the Lions could target is linebacker Clay Matthews in which I previously wrote an article on why the should bring him to Motown. While Matthews isn’t positioned on the line, he plays like an edge in which he sacked the quarterback eight times last season. One thing that comes with signing Matthews is versatility which is something that head coach Matt Patricia prioritizes in his defense.
If they would like to get the best possible player they can get to help them on the defensive line, general manager Bob Quinn can give the Jacksonville Jaguars a call about defensive end Yannick Ngakoue who has requested to be traded. Since his rookie year in 2016, he has not recorded less than eight sacks in a season. Although if the Lions prefer this route, they would have to give up significant draft picks and perhaps a player to fit in his salary that’s over $17 million.
Whether it’s Clowney, Matthews or Ngakoue, the Lions should pursue one of them to improve the pass rush in a year that could be a make or break season.