Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Analyzing the 2013 Detroit Lions roster: D Line

We all know the big names. Ndamukoing Suh and Nick Fairley and they will be the two boys in the middle of the line most of the time. We also know the name Ezekial Ansah who takes over for the departed Cliff Avril. Add to that free agent Jason Jones and we know the four men who will start along the D line. That is three first round picks, and a free agent all playing with one another for the first time this season.

The Lions have a lot of draft picks and salary cap money invested in their D Line, and this unit has the talent to be nothing less than dominant. That might take a few games or it might happen right away. Through the pre-season we have seen the D line be dominant and opportunistic helping to create turnovers.

There has been a lot of turnover from 2012 to 2013. Kyle Vanden Bosch, Avril, Corey Williams, Andre Fluellen, Lawrence Jackson, Ronnell Lewis, and others are all out. Vanden Bosch has been the locker room leader for this unit the last few years and the Lions are betting that Suh is mature enough to step up into that role. From what we have seen so far this pre-season that certainly appears to be the case. However, Jim Schwartz has made his living in the NFL having a strong rotation at along the D line especially at the DT spots and as it stands there are just four DT's on the roster. CJ Mosely and Justin Bannan will back up Suh and Fairley who might be the best DT pairing in the entire NFL.

Ansah, who the Lions are hoping makes a big step up to the NFL game, and we have seen signs o fthat this pre-season, along with Jones are the starting ends. Willie Young and  Israel Idonije as the primary backups. Devin Taylor is also on the 53 man roster and is an extra end if needed.

This looks like a strong group and with what is invested here it certianly better be. I like the amount of talent contained here, but still think a tad much of the salary cap is invested here but that is more out of circumstance that any kind of mismanagement.

The things to watch for is Ansah's ability to pick up the game at  this level, the leadership qualities of Suh, and the amount of production the ends can get when teams double team one of the two tackles which is likely to happen a lot. This unit has the skills to be very good, and let's hope they get opposing QB's on their toes.

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