4. DT Shelby Harris (Denver Broncos)
Of course, it’s hard to stop a team’s passing game when your defense isn’t generating a lot of heat on opposing quarterbacks. Last offseason, the Lions opted to give defensive end Trey Flowers a lucrative five-year, $90 million contract. The former member of the New England Patriots finished 2019 with seven sacks, the same as teammate/outside linebacker Devon Kennard.
That production should have not been a surprise. Flowers finished with seven quarterback traps in 2016, 6.5 sacks the following year and 7.5 QB traps in his final season with the Pats. The bottom line is that he and Kennard combined for exactly one half of the club’s 28 sacks. Meanwhile, Patricia’s team allowed 33 scores through the air. And as previously mentioned, no team in the NFL surrendered more passing yards per game as the Lions slumped from the 10th-ranked overall defense in 2018 to a squad that allowed the second-most total yards in the league this past year.
While Patricia and new defensive coordinator Cory Undlin have their work cut out for them, a little more depth along the front would help. End Shelby Harris just wrapped up his third season with the Denver Broncos after spending his first two years in the league with the Raiders. He finished third on the club with six sacks and also knocked down nine passes and could be a solid addition.
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