August 8, 2022
The Detroit Lions could have a defensive addition planned in the weeks ahead according to Dan Campbell.

In order to win in the NFL, plenty has to go right for a team, but often, things start first in the trenches. The Detroit Lions have some growing to do on the defensive side of the ball.

While the team has some talent, it’s young talent first and foremost. Coming into the 2022 season, the Lions need to see several players step up, and the team could be in need of a bit of a boost along the line.

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Speaking on Thursday, July 28, Dan Campbell was asked about where the team is at up front. As he said, the team might need to find a little more beef up front in order to do what they need to do this season.

“I think it goes without saying you better be disruptive. We can’t allow ourselves to get road-graded. I do think that we may need a little bit more girth up front. I wouldn’t say we’re not looking for that or won’t be,” Campbell admitted. “We signed (Isaiah) Buggs. He helps us a little bit there. If you’re not careful and you don’t have enough in there, that’s what (John) Penisini was. He could anchor in there and he could swallow up blocks and he could run the line of scrimmage a little bit. Between he and Alim (McNeill) it was hard to run in the middle. So that’ll always be in the back of our mind.”

Penisini recently revealed his retirement from the NFL, so that leaves a hole the Lions might need to replace. Complicating matters is the injury to Josh Paschal, who is on PUP recovering from sports hernia surgery.

“It’s something that we got to be aware of and look, Alim (McNeill) continues to grow. There’s things he does in there. Levi (Onwuzurike’s) got to be able to hold up in there too now, and there’ll be some stuff he’s going to have to play in there,” Campbell said. “He may have to play the nose or the shade as well, but the good news is, he’s a big man. He’s explosive and he just continues to grow week to week on his technique. That’ll help us. It’s really, we have to hit the blocks. If we’re late off the ball or we’re not explosive, we’re not taking it to the the double teams, we’re going to be in trouble.”

All of the players Campbell mentioned could indeed step up, but at this point, it seems as if the team is at least going to be thinking about adding some depth help in the days ahead up front.


Lions Defense Depending on Growth up Front

Early in camp, the Lions might wait and see what they have on the roster before making a signing. The team could have a lot of talented players set to make an impact on the field.

Alim McNeill had an outstanding rookie season and could be looking for a breakout. Levi Onwuzurike seems primed to have a bigger season on the field. Detroit has names like Jashon Cornell, veteran Michael Brockers, Bruce Hector and Demetrius Taylor who could play a role, but the team might find they need more of a sure-thing.

Even though the Lions have players, they could need more depth. The retirement of Penisini could leave the Lions in a bind in terms of a clogger. Either the team will get production from some of their up-and-coming stars, or they will find they need a bit of a boost.


Free Agent Defensive Linemen Available for Lions

Campbell’s soliloquy seemed to indicate the team will remain on the hunt for a defensive lineman in the days ahead, perhaps a veteran.

While Campbell liked the move to add Buggs, the team might need more beef up front. Fortunately, there are some names in free agency to consider. Brandon Williams is a space-eater that could give the Lions depth, as could Star Star Lotulelei or Linval Joseph. Ndamukong Suh remains unsigned as well. He was the subject of Twitter hype from Lions fans recently.

In the coming weeks, players will come available on the waiver wire as cuts get made. While the Lions will always try to improve their whole roster, it might be wise to keep an eye on the defensive front most of all.

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