Detroit Lions: Defensive Preview – 2017 Needs to be Better Upfront

The defense of the Detroit Lions is a major weak point. Last season they finished 18th overall, 20th against the run, and 19th against the pass. The Lions are trying to compete in the tough NFC North. In order to make some noise in 2017, they are going to have to improve on these numbers. Here is a look at the Lions defense.

DE Ziggy Ansah leads the defensive line. After a less than stellar season in 2016 Ansah and the rest of the rest of the Lions d-line looks to rebound. Third-year tackle, Kerry Hyder looks to continue on the pace he was on in 2016. Leading the team with eight sacks. In order to compete with and pass the Green Bay Packers, the Lions will have to seek improvement across the front of their defense.

The linebackers of the Detroit Lions will look upon a rookie to lead them in 2017. They drafted Jarrad Davis out of Florida with their first pick of this year’s draft. Davis is a downhill linebacker. He loves to be in the opponents backfield. His closing speed is spectacular. The Lions may find him effective as a blitzer. He is going to need to be effective out of the gate if Detroit expects to have help from their linebackers this season.

Although the Detroit Lions finished 19th against the pass, their secondary may be the strongest area of their defense. Led by Darius Slay and Glover Quin the Lions pass defense looks to improve on this ranking in 2017. They signed DJ Hayden to play the nickel as well this season. The Lions will also look to get some young help out of rookie Jalen “Teez” Tabor, whom they selected in the second round of the draft.

If the Detroit Lions expect to compete for a playoff spot in 2017, it will come from the defense. The offense can be good enough to get them there. Will the defense be able to sustain enough pressure and keep teams out of the end zone? If the front seven steps up this defense could be formidable. If not, 2017 could be a long, tough battle.

Editor’s Note: This article can also be seen in our upcoming NFL Preview Edition.

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Sean Naylor

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