The Detroit Lions have had a significant offseason in terms of additions for 2022 and could see multiple players take leaps forward on the roster, so picking out players that are exciting could be tough duty for the coaching staff.
Even though that’s the case, that didn’t stop defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn from singling out a few names he’s impressed with meeting with the media. Already, the team’s defense seems to have
The latest Lions news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lions newsletter here!
Speaking to the media on Thursday, May 26, Glenn explained that he believes a trio of young players could be important to watch this year. He singled out defenaive lineman Alim McNeill, cornerback Amani Oruwariye and edge rusher Charles Harris as players who he is most excited about.
“DC Aaron Glenn mentioned Alim McNeill, Amani Oruwariye and Charles Harris as guys he’s really excited about heading into the season,” Twentyman tweeted.
In terms of why in the case of Harris, Glenn thinks that he is only getting better and is looking like he is set to prove that he was not a one-hit wonder in 2021.
“Aaron Glenn: “Charles Harris, you just watch him right now, he is just on tilt every freakin’ play. I can expect a lot more from that player this year,” he said via Burke’s tweet.
Obviously, those are some solid picks for the Lions coming ahead of 2022. All three of those players played important roles on the 2021 defense, and could look to do the same again in 2022. This year, those names might even take on a starring role in a few cases.
Analyzing Lions’ Young Defenders to Watch
In terms of McNeill and Oruwariye, Glenn may not be way off in terms of calling out those players for taking a step forward and being significant this year. Already this offseason, the team has seen Oruwariye singled out for being a potential breakout player again a season after he secured 6 interceptions. McNeill, on the other hand, looked great as a rookie in putting up 39 tackles and 2 sacks in his first season in the league. As a result, it isn’t a stretch to say he could break out this year and do even more damage on the field. Both of those players will be important to watch according to Glenn.
Not only will those players be capable of taking a step forward, but names like defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike, cornerback Jerry Jacobs and linebacker Derrick Barnes could all be in line for bigger roles and could feel comfort within their second year of the defensive scheme. Additionally, with health, Romeo Okwara could re-introduce himself to Lions fans as well, and is still a young player though he’s been around the block a bit in his career.
Harris Could Look Primed for Bigger Season
While many could see what the Lions added this offseason and proclaim Harris a near-immediate loser, the flip side of this analysis revolves around the fact that the defensive lineman has been in the NFL for a while and also understands the team’s defense. There figures to be a learning curve for most rookies, which means that for the minimum of a month, Hutchinson and Paschal could take their time coming along for the team. That could leave Harris as a player that sees plenty of time and plenty of chance to step up on the field given his confidence within the scheme and knowledge of it as well.
Harris figures to be ready to go for 2022 immediately, and given what he was able to do for Glenn and the Lions last year, he may already have the confidence of the staff that other younger players will have to keep earning. That’s an important variable to remember when considering Harris’s success or failure statistically during the coming season. To hear Glenn call him out at this point is very encouraging.
In terms of names, these are the early players to watch in Detroit according to the coach. It’s not a bad place to start in terms of guys who could be well-positioned to dominate in short order.