How much improvement can the Lions defense make?
By Robert Jones
NFL teams win in the trenches
In the NFL, teams win in the trenches and defense wins championships. This is the blueprint that new general manager Brad Holmes has in mind.
Between the draft and a second trade with the Rams, the Lions have built a foundation in the trenches. The offensive line is being heralded as a top 10 unit for this coming season and all the hopes and dreams of the post-Stafford offense ride on the shoulders of those big boys in the trenches.
Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, there has been some pretty good work done there. As a matter of fact, it would seem that the old adage about strength in numbers could be applicable.
Brad Holmes used the Lions’ second and a third-round pick to select Levi Onwuzurike out of the University of Washington and Alim McNeill from North Carolina State, respectively. That made a clean sweep of Detroit’s first three picks to bolster the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
Along with The draft Holmes acquired defensive tackle Michael Brockers from the Rams to not only add production but to mentor the youngsters on the defensive line.
If we look at the list of players on the defensive line, there is enough talent there combined with a more aggressive system to make the Lions’ defense pretty good in the trenches.
Romeo Okwara returns as the Lions leading sacker. Trey Flowers returns from injury although he will do some work at linebacker as well. Da’Shawn Hand looks to stay healthy and regain his standout rookie play. The other Okwara brother Julian, John Penisini, and Nick Williams combined with Brockers, Onwuzurike, and McNeill makes for a pretty good stable to work from.
Will they make us forget the recent defensive line play of the 49ers when healthy? No, but there is enough talent there to make the Lions productive in the trenches defensively.
Like every other position on the Lions, there will be improvements made over time by Brad Holmes, but the starting point isn’t bad. The defensive point of attack has the potential to be disruptive enough to spearhead improvement on the most pathetic defense in the history of these Motor City cats. The question is; how much help will they get?