4. EDGE Romeo Okwara
A second surgery to repair his Achilles' tear from Week 4 of the 2021 season lengthened the elder Okwara's return to full strength last season, and outside of one game it showed.
This season his playing time was hit-and-miss, and his production followed suit. He had two sacks in December though, his only two of the regular season, and his second-highest snap total of the season came in Week 18.
Okwara took a pay cut last offseason to stay in Detroit. His late-regular season mini-surge could get the Lions' attention enough for them to consider bringing him back as a rotational edge rusher, but there's at best a 50-50 chance of that. It's far more likely his time in Honolulu Blue, with the ups and downs he had, is over.
3. DT Levi Onwuzurike
Onwuzurike played while bothered by a back injury as a rookie in 2021, then a back injury early in 2022 training camp eventually required season-ending surgery and he did not play a snap in his second season.
Onwuzurike revealed how serious the back surgery he had was just prior to the start of this season. By all accounts he was healthy all season this season, but he played just 10 regular season games (132 snaps), then he hardly played in the postseason. Particularly while Alim McNeill was on IR late in the regular season, opportunity should have probably knocked harder. But it simply did not.
Three years into a four-year rookie deal (he was a second-round pick), and even accounting for a missed season due to injury, the Lions have not gotten close to what they expected from Onwuzurike when he was drafted. He's a potential cap casualty, if nothing else, with the strong prospect of an even smaller role next year if he happens to be back. A rare complete draft miss from general manager Brad Holmes over his first three drafts here.