The Detroit Lions boast one of the most threatening defensive lines in the NFL, and Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley are entering contract years.
The Detroit Lions boast one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, and it will continue to give offensive coordinators nightmares.
Ezekial Ansah is entering his second season after being selected with the fifth overall pick, and he impressed by registering 8.5 sacks. His development will only make him more dangerous.
Jason Jones will return as the starting defensive end opposite Ansah, and he offers versatility as a capable defensive tackle.
Devin Taylor is a similar player to Jones, and he will likely be the key reserve at defensive end for the Lions and will receive more playing time with Willie Young gone.
Darryl Tapp offers veteran experience and the ability to play outside linebacker, and he has been a journeyman throughout his career.
Larry Webster was selected in the fourth round to provide depth, and he will fight to make the roster with the Lions already having plenty of depth at defensive end.
At defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh leads the way and is a key reason why the Lions’ defensive line is as fearsome as it is. Although his discipline needs improvement, the firing of Jim Schwartz should help.
Nick Fairley, who is also a former first-round pick, has been frustrating for the Lions as well because of his lack of discipline. The former Auburn Tiger’s play has been inconsistent since entering the league, but the talent is there, and he has undergone surgery on his sleep apnea. This has helped him slim down 30 pounds.
Even when they are not playing to their full potential, Suh and Fairley make up a threatening defensive tackle duo. If they can stay disciplined, the Lions may have the best defensive line in the NFL. The tandem will look to prove themselves worthy of long-term contracts as they enter contract years.
C.J. Mosley will be the key backup defensive tackle for the Lions. Mosley can be counted on to give 100 percent on every snap, and he is a solid run stuffer.
The final roster spot at defensive tackle is expected to go to Caraun Reid, who was selected in the fifth round of the draft. Andre Fluellen will also fight to make the roster. Fluellen has prior experience in Detroit, so he may be tough for Reid to beat out.
Overall, the Lions are likely to have one of the elite defensive lines in the NFL, and it will give offensive coordinators nightmares if Suh and Fairley can play to their full potential and Ansah makes the jump in his second year.