Lions are counting on bounce-back candidate highlighted by Pro Football Focus

Pro Football Focus highlighted a clear 2024 bounce-back candidate for the Lions, and quite frankly they are counting on it happening.
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The Detroit Lions finished in the bottom half of the league last season with 41 sacks. Besides Aidan Hutchinson (11.5) and Alim McNeill (five), not one else had more than three sacks. Narrowing further, no other Lions' edge rusher besides Hutchinson had more than two.

So the non-Hutchinson group of Lions' edge rushers was ripe for turnover this offseason. Gone are Julian Okwara (Philadelphia Eagles), Romeo Okwara (retirement) and Charles Harris (still available as a free agent, but not coming back).

Free agency brought in Marcus Davenport, who had a very injury-truncated season with the Minnesota Vikings last year. But was a first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2018, and Lions' head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn were on the staff there for the first three seasons of his career.

Injuries have been a primary headline over Davenport's career, as he's topped 500 defensive snaps just once in six seasons. Even mostly healthy in 2022 (15 games), he only had 0.5 sacks. His best season was in 2021, when he had nine sacks, nine tackles for loss and three forced fumbles over 11 games.

Lions are counting on bounce back from Marcus Davenport

The Lions did not draft an edge rusher, as many thought they might. So there are a lot of proverbial eggs in Davenport's basket, with a dose of hope last year's CFL sack leader Mathieu Betts sticks and makes a notable contribution off the edge.

Bradley Locker of Pro Football Focus has offered up a bounce-back candidate for each NFL team. Davenport is the fairly clear and obvious one for the Lions.

"Davenport’s time in Minnesota last year almost feels like a fever dream. The former Saints pass-rusher played just 114 snaps because of a high ankle sprain, and even when he was active, he disappointed. Davenport collected only seven pressures on 77 pass-rushing snaps, and he missed 40% of his tackles."

"In New Orleans, though, Davenport proved to be a regularly disruptive defensive lineman. He generated 30 or more pressures in each of his first five seasons and especially peaked toward the end of his first contract, with an 88.8 overall grade in 2021."

'"The Lions’ defensive line should be formidable this year with Aidan HutchinsonD.J. Reader and Alim McNeill , but don’t discount Davenport looking more like himself and also wreaking havoc."

Health is the obvious thing with Davenport. If he can't stay on the field, again, the Lions took no risk by only signing him to a one-year deal. If he can stay healthy, he could be the force they need opposite Hutchinson to get after quarterbacks off the edge and perhaps his stay in Detroit lasts a couple more years.

One way or the other, the Lions are counting on Davenport bolstering their pass rush with a nice bounce back this year. It's not a stretch to say a bounce back will important for him personally as well.

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