The Detroit Lions kept Mike Daniels in the division by signing the defensive tackle on Friday, which is another huge addition for the defense in 2019.
On Wednesday, the Green Bay Packers released Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Mike Daniels. He only spent around two days out of the NFC North, though, because the Detroit Lions made their move. After meeting with numerous NFL teams, Daniels ultimately agreed to a one-year, $9.1 million deal with Matt Patricia’s team, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Entering the 2019 NFL Draft, many thought the Lions should use the eighth overall pick to address defensive tackle. Instead, they went after tight end T.J. Hockenson with the selection. Thus, the position did still seem a bit thin as training camps throughout the league got underway. The addition of Daniels, however, changes that.
The Lions now have a strong three-man rotation of Daniels, A’Shawn Robinson and run-stuffing specialist Damon Harrison at the position. Furthermore, 2019 seventh-rounder PJ Johnson and veteran John Atkins could potentially offer upside as depth beyond that three-man group. That has the looks of a complete group, especially under the direction of the defensive-minded Patricia.
When you look at the Lions offseason, it’s clear that they’ve worked to become a more defensively sound team, fitting the M.O. of their head coach as Patricia enters his second season.
More from NFL Spin Zone
- Dallas Cowboys made the trade everyone else should have made
- Pittsburgh Steelers rookie sleeper everyone should be talking about
- Anthony Richardson putting jaw-dropping talent on display immediately
- Denver Broncos’ stud wide receiver might be out for a while
- Washington Commanders: Three takeaways from win over Ravens
Adding Trey Flowers is obviously the gem of the Lions offseason, signing the defensive end to a lucrative free-agent contract early in the offseason. He now joins Da’Shawn Hand as an impressively physical group of edge players. Furthermore, drafting Austin Bryant in the fourth round could help the pass rush as well with the depth he provides.
Detroit got deeper at the other two levels of the defense as well this offseason. The Lions selected linebacker Jahlani Tavai in Round 2 and, while he may have been a bit of a reach, he provides new looks and depth for that group behind the likes of Jarrad Davis and Devon Kennard.
On the back end in the secondary, the Lions added two key pieces in free agency with slot corner Justin Coleman and cornerback Rashaan Melvin, both of whom strengthen a group that has been inconsistent. They have even more depth there by way of the draft, too, as they selected safety Will Harris in the third round and got great value with cornerback Amani Oruwariye in the fifth round.
There’s no mistaking the fact that the Lions have made a concentrated effort to improve the defense and give Patricia more to work with. The team no doubt addressed offensive concerns too but their efforts on defense are far more noteworthy as a whole.
Outside of Flowers — and maybe Daniels — these aren’t top-tier players joining the Lions defense. However, they are players that can immediately help this unit. Furthermore, Patricia’s roots with the Patriots are ones that often made the most out of not having a slew of top-tier talents on defense. Thus, this should be right in the head coach’s wheelhouse.
Things could be tough in the NFC North for the Lions this season. With Daniels now completing a defensive overhaul put into motion this offseason, though, Detroit should be better equipped to survive and compete in comparison to last year.