Rare Brad Holmes draft miss's time with Lions is coming to inevitable end

Levi Onwuzurike has become a rare draft miss for Brad Holmes, and his time with the Lions is coming to an end.

In some late 2021 mock drafts, for whatever mock drafts are worth, you may have seen Washington defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike late in the first round despite having sat out the 2020 college season due to COVID-19.

The Detroit Lions took Onwuzurike in the second round (41st overall), with the idea he would become a core piece of the defensive line. He played through a lingering back issue as a rookie. suiting up for 16 games. He was re-injured early in 2022 training camp, and a major back surgery sidelined him for that entire campaign.

By all accounts, with nary an apperance on an injury report, Onwuzurike was healthy throughout last season. But he only played 10 games in the regular season, and 132 defensive snaps, with one sack and five total tackles. He played 32 snaps during the playoffs.

Levi Onwuzurike's time with the Lions is coming to inevitable end

Through no fault of his own, Onwuzurike's NFL career has not started on a good track. Back issues don't magically go away, and it's fair to assert having a significant back surgery left him not the same physically. A change of scenery may be beneficial to him, and maybe there's a team out there that would give him a shot.

Onwuzurike was an easy post-draft loser for the Lions, with sixth-round pick Mekhi Wingo coming in to take snaps. So his placement on the updated trade block from NFL Trade Rumors and as the "best" player the Lions could still cut by Bleacher Report makes sense.

"Onwuzurike is entering the final year of his rookie contract and hasn't had the impact the Lions were hoping for. Since then, they've added other options at interior pass rusher, so a fresh start could be in order."
-NFL Trade Rumors

"Injuries, unfortunately, have plagued Levi Onwuzurike's recent seasons. He notched 35 tackles as a rookie in 2021 but has appeared in only 10 games since then. Detroit may have drafted a replacement with sixth-rounder Mekhi Wingo, and releasing Onwuzurike would trim $1.7 million from the books."
-Bleacher Report

It wouldn't seem Onwuzurike has much of any trade value, with a conditional late-round pick the only realistic return there. Cutting him sooner than now may have allowed him more chances to find an opportunity elsewhere, but even that's a coin-flip at best. One way or another though, barring something completely unforeseen, his time with the Lions is coming to an end sometime in the next few months.

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