The Detroit Lions are beginning to think about the offseason in terms of the roster now that they are getting their staff in place, and their first free agent visit is an interesting one.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Lions hosted free agent defensive lineman David Irving to a visit on Wednesday. Irving is a talented former member of the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line in addition to the Las Vegas Raiders. As a free agent, he’s making the rounds and has already reportedly visited the Indianapolis Colts this offseason.
After visiting the Colts yesterday, former Cowboys DL David Irving visited the Lions today. A return to the Raiders could still happen, but he’s making the rounds for now.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 3, 2021
Irving will have one potential connection to the Lions already in the form of former Kansas City Chiefs’ general manager John Dorsey. Dorsey is a senior personnel executive in Detroit, and worked with the Chiefs when the team brought Irving in as an undrafted free agent in 2015 out of Iowa State. He stuck on Kansas City’s practice squad then until he was signed away by Dallas, where he carved out a nice start to his career before being released.
In Detroit, Irving could serve as some cheap depth and insurance up front for the Lions, who have had noted issues in the trenches the last few seasons. If he’s healthy and engaged, Irving could likely help solve those problems for the Lions in a pretty cheap way.
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David Irving Stats
At 27, Irving is far from finished in terms of his NFL career, though he has certainly had some bumps in the road along the way. He started in Kansas City as an undrafted free agent on the practice squad, then jumped to Dallas where he played from 2015-2018, putting up some decent stats along the way with 12.5 sacks and 56 tackles in addition to 5 forced fumbles and 12 pass deflections. Irving was suspended in Dallas for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy in 2017, and again in 2018 for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. That happened again in 2019 for marijuana, but he was re-instated for the 2020 season. Irving has also battled injuries in his career, losing time to concussion as well as a high ankle sprain.
Late last October, Irving signed with the Raiders but did not factor into much on the field for the team, bouncing between the roster and the practice squad.
Lions Defensive Line Needs Offseason Help
If there’s one spot other than wide receiver that the Lions need the most help this offseason, it’s the defensive line. Detroit’s line has not been able to stop the run nor have they been able to pressure the pocket whatsoever. Irving is the type of tough player that could help the Lions do just that this coming season, and take some pressure off the Lions having to make a big signing or deal for a productive lineman. Regardless of if the Lions sign Irving or not, the team is going to need to make veteran depth and young players a focus up front considering the need at the position.
A concern with Irving has to do with drugs and certainly health, but if he has cleaned up his act and is ready to go, he could be a decent upgrade for Detroit.