Detroit Lions: Four free agents to replace Damon Harrison

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(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions
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DL Derek Wolfe

Here is a player I’ve enjoyed watching for quite some time.  Derek Wolfe has a high motor, and he brings a plethora of energy to the defensive line.  Before we get into this understand, Derek Wolfe is more of a defensive end than tackle, but he does line up inside quite often.

Again, he’s not a defensive tackle that the Detroit Lions would need to smash a piggy bank to sign.  Wolfe isn’t the space stealing defensive tackle that will command a double-team, but he is much more agile, much more versatile than Damon Harrison.  For his size, he’s excelled defending the run throughout his career, but that’s certainly not his calling card.

Wolfe is an interior lineman who excels at creating havoc in passing situations.  He’s much more Mike Daniels than Damon Harrison.

Last season Wolfe earned himself a 68.5 overall grade by PFF, 68.4 against the run, and 67.7 in passing situations.  He made 31 tackles, 7 sacks, and a whopping 22 quarterback hurries.  Although he may not be a Matt Patricia prototype defensive tackle, he’s a player Patricia could use in a regular rotation along his defensive front.  Having an interior pass-rusher should open up more opportunities to have Trey Flowers one on one where he’d feast.  If offensive lines decided to double Flowers, Wolfe would have a hay-day against bigger, slower guards in single blocking schemes.

Wolfe is about to turn 30 years old, and maybe he can’t be a 700 snap player again, but he gave the Broncos 523 last year.  Just a year ago, he recorded a stellar 84.7 rating against the run and a 75.3 overall mark, and he played 710 snaps.

I believe Matt Patricia will be looking at having more of a rotational defensive line next season other than Trey Flowers. Meaning Wolfe would be a perfect lowish costing veteran player who has plenty of versatility and the potential to flourish in a Patricia type defense.