Detroit Lions: 3 defenders poised to bounce back in 2021

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Detroit Lions, Trey Flowers
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Trey Flowers will bounce back for the Detroit Lions in 2021.

Some will point to Trey Flowers and loosely yet impulsively use the term bust.  I don’t feel that Flowers has been a bust for the Detroit Lions, but he has failed to live up to many of the fans’ overall expectations.

When Flowers signed that massive five-year contract worth a whopping $90 million with the Detroit Lions in free agency, I feel many fans expected the defensive end to put up gaudy sack numbers.

That’s just not Flowers’ game.

Flowers is more of a well-rounded end who sets the edge and often fights through double-teams as he’s often chipped by a tight end or running back as he’s engaged with a left tackle. Sure he will get his fair share of sacks when he’s right, but he’s never produced a double-digit sack season as a professional.  His best season in that regard came in 2018 with the Patriots before becoming a free agent as he recorded nine sacks.

Flowers is talented enough to generate pressure and is a mismatch if you try and block him one on one with anything but an elite left tackle.  Flowers generally played with his hand in the dirt in a four-man front in Patricia’s defensive scheme.

The Detroit Lions are expected to use a 3-4 defense, and Flowers will spend a lot of time as a stand-up edge-rusher in 2021.  I do expect to see Flowers with his hand in the dirt in sub formations on third and long situations, but for the most part, expect to see the veteran in more of a rushing outside linebacker look.

According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), in 2019, his first season with the Lions, Flowers earned an 82.8 overall mark courtesy of Pro Football Focus (PFF).  In 705 defensive snaps, Flowers created 62 total pressures, 36 tackles, and seven sacks.

Injuries limited the talented edge-rusher to just 309 defensive snaps, but he still produced an overall grade of 83.3.

I expect the Lions to be significantly better in the trenches on both sides of the football, especially the defense after adding veteran Michael Brockers and rookies Alim McNeill and Levi Onwuzurike.  The trio will garner plenty of attention inside, allowing the likes of Romeo Okwara and Trey Flowers to excel coming off the edge.

Expect Flowers to show up more often on the stat sheet than usual in 2021 for the Detorit Lions.