The Detroit Lions have a young roster and look to be a team that is hoping to develop well in the future, and a big way the team can do that is continue to develop players on defense.
Last season, the Lions drafted multiple young defensive linemen, and while Alim McNeill was able to play a pretty consistent role all season long, it took longer for Levi Onwuzurike to do the same. Injuries prevented a huge season from the second-round pick, and with this in mind, the offseason was always going to be huge for the rookie’s future development.
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The good news? There is pretty strong indications early on that the player is doing great work toward making that happen. Dan Campbell was speaking to the media and revealed that Onwuzurike has been working and looks good, even though it is early on for the player. Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com revealed that when listening to Campbell speak.
“Dan Campbell on Levi Onwuzurike heading into Year 2: “He looks good. I know it’s early and we’re only in early April, but you can tell he’s been working. That says something. That says something to you, without saying anything,” Twentyman tweeted after listening to Campbell speak.
That’s big news for the Lions, who want to see their prized pick develop in the best possible way. It looks as if with Onwuzurike looking good and working hard that it has a chance to be the case.
Onwuzurike’s Development Huge for Lions’ Defense
If there’s one player that the team could use to surge in terms of development, it’s Onwuzurike. The team wants to see him take multiple steps forward to show what kind of player that they hope he can be in the middle of the line. The narrative has been all offseason that the Lions need to make some additions along their defensive line, but a healthy Onwuzurike could smash that narrative in a big way. He can pressure from the middle and from outside, and can be a major piece for the team moving forward that can be versatile for the team.
Health was always going to be the biggest variable given the fact that Onwuzurike never started camp healthy last year and was coming up to speed to the NFL given he hadn’t played in 2020. With a nice job off the field so far, the Lions fans can feel like it has a chance to be the case.
Onwuzurike Stats & Highlights
The Lions needed some major help in the trenches and Onwurzurike can theoretically provide it for now and in the future. He collected 95 tackles in his time in college to go with 16 tackles for-loss and 7 sacks. Onwurzurike opted out of the 2020 season, but he showed well in 2019 when he last played. Teams looking to draft Onwuzurike were likely looking at his ability to be physical and tough in the trenches and develop into a great player in the middle.
In Detroit, Onwuzurike has started to show some signs of coming into his own on the field. As a whole last season, he collected 35 total tackles, 1 sack and showed some of the burst he did in college:
In time, the Lions hope that Onwuzurike can continue to develop. With some hard work this offseason perhaps starting to pay off, that seems to look like it is shaping up to be the case.
Dan Campbell Praises Rookie Defender’s Offseason: ‘He’s Been Working’