Underachieving former No. 1 overall pick named Detroit Lions free agent fit
Among the free agents who are still available, the Detroit Lions have been deemed a match for a former No. 1 overall pick.
As offseason work gets going around the NFL, there are still free agents looking for teams–including some notable names. The Detroit Lions certainly have an area or two they could look to add to, slim as the pickings are in mid-May.
Defensive tackle is a need spot the Lions didn’t do a lot to fortify in free agency or the draft. In a broad sense, defensive line could be an area general manager Brad Holmes still has an eye on to possibly add someone. Not to say it’s necessarily likely, via a signing or even a big trade, but it is possible.
Anyone who is still available on the free agent market comes with automatic red flags, otherwise they wouldn’t be available two months after the start of free agency.
Detroit Lions named a free agent match for former No. 1 overall
Pro Football Network has listed out some free agent fits for defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Here’s the case for the Lions as a fit for the former No. 1 overall pick.
"The Lions passed on first-round defensive end prospects in the draft in favor of running back Jahmyr Gibbs and off-ball linebacker Jack Campbell. Surprisingly, Detroit then didn’t add an edge defender over the course of the entire draft.Thus, the Lions are now poised to run a rotation opposite Aidan Hutchinson, who put up 9.5 sacks in his rookie year. Romeo Okwara, Charles Harris, John Cominsky, and 2022 second-rounder Josh Paschal are all candidates to see time in the starting lineup alongside last year’s No. 2 overall pick.Clowney likely offers a higher floor than any of the Lions’ current options. He’d also be a valuable run defender for a unit that ranked 27th in efficiency and 28th in success rate against opposing rushing attacks in 2022.But would Clowney mesh with Dan Campbell’s vision for Detroit?The Lions are building a roster of hard-charging, aggressive players with motors that don’t quit. That hasn’t always been Clowney’s mentality, and his comments about the Browns’ coaching staff could quash any interest the Lions may have had."
It doesn’t feel like that long ago somehow, but Clowney was the first overall pick by the Houston Texans in the 2014 NFL Draft. He made the Pro Bowl in three straight years from 2016-2018, with at least nine sacks in the last two, but the Texans still let him go.
Clowney has played for the Seattle Seahawks (2019), Tennessee Titans (2020) and Cleveland Browns (2021 and 2022) since. He had nine sacks again in 2021, and dropped off to just two sacks last year. He followed that with the aforementioned comments accusing the Browns coaching staff of setting Myles Garrett up to produce at his expense. If nothing else, that has surely turned teams off and helps explain why he is unsigned.
Clowney, quite simply, has been an underachiever throughout his NFL career. Any concerns about his personality or down-to-down effort level could be set aside if he was producing at a high level. But he has three or fewer sacks in three of the last four seasons. He has also played every game in a season just once in his career.
Clowney does not look like a great culture fit in Detroit. At this point he also fails on the talent/production=worth the trouble scale. Even PFN couldn’t finish a great case for the Lions to sign him, which says it all even if he was broadly worth mentioning as a higher upside option opposite Aidan Hutchinson.