Detroit Lions: 3 positions that could still use some upgrading

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Lions
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The Detroit Lions still need to address their pass-rush concerns, and it should start with adding some depth to their defensive front.

Detroit recently signed nose tackle Danny Shelton from New England to anchor the interior part of their defensive line. He’s expected to clog the middle of the defensive front and focus on stopping the run.

Shelton is an early-down run stopper that won’t generate much of an interior pass-rush.  Expect a heavy dose of Shelton along with Da’Shawn Hand on first and second down, followed by the recently signed Nick Willams on sure-rushing situations.

The Detroit Lions will also mix in John Atkins and rookie John Penisini.

It’s a defensive line that features Trey Flowers at one of the defensive end positions, along with Romeo Okwara playing opposite him.  Hand is listed as a defensive end, but I expect him to play more as an interior lineman at a tackle position when Detroit goes to a four-man front.  Hand is the perfect sized end to play opposite Flowers during Detroit’s three-man front looks and will do so.  He’s a big-bodied player upwards of 300 pounds that excels at setting the edge.

The Detroit Lions drafted Julian Okwara to provide the defense with an edge rush playing opposite veteran Jamie Collins.  The organization hopes Austin Bryant, a draft pick from a year ago, emerges coming off of the edge as well, but he’s unproven at this time, and the organization should seek an upgrade to their seven-man front.

Detroit shouldn’t rush to pay Jadeveon Clowney $17 million per season, but there are plenty of additional options still on the market that will cost the team far less.  The Lions should consider veterans Everson Griffen, Mike Daniels, Cameron Wake, Jabaal Sheard, Markus Golden, Marcell Darius, or Clay Matthews.