The Detroit Lions endured a frustrating season on the field, and deep within, the team endured plenty in order to get to the point where they were making progress late in the year.
One of the biggest positives for the Lions was the fact that the team managed to play a ton of young players, thus getting them major experience for the future. Though some of the defeats were frustrating, the benefit for the Lions is in the fact that their young players gained plenty of traction for the future.
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Speaking with the media on January 13 following the season, defensive lineman Michael Brockers was asked about his feelings for the future. As he said, he feels positive about the direction of the team, mostly due to the fact that the young players have been able to play a huge role for the team and gain plenty of experience for the future.
“We had a lot of growth. We played a lot of young players. We had a lot of young players have to play and guys that had to step up. When their name was called, they had to be ready to play,” Brockers explained to the media. “We were able to play a lot of young guys and put them in situations where they might have gotten beat, might have had something happen but they learned lessons. I think that was the biggest deal about this year, allowing a lot of our young guys to get the experience that they need and go forward with that. Moving in the future, you’ve got a lot of second-year guys who had a lot of experience in the season and they can get the job done. So I think that was the biggest thing, seeing the growth of this team over the season.”
That growth was obvious by the time the season concluded, with the Lions finding a way to score a few big time wins late. Without the team sticking together and the youngsters learning key lessons, that probably would not have been possible whatsoever, proving Brockers’ point to be a good one in the end.
In 2022, the Lions hope all of those lessons pay off in a big way with a team that is able to find some bigger wins.
Young Lions Players Enjoyed Standout Seasons
From rookie players like first-round pick Penei Sewell to fourth-round wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown who managed to put up 912 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns, the Lions saw plenty of starring performances this year out of young players. Unheralded names like undrafted rookie cornerbacks Jerry Jacobs and AJ Parker also stepped up and delivered big seasons, given the fact they produced on the field. Jacobs put up 34 tackles and Parker had 50 tackles, 1 interception, 7 passes defended and 1 forced fumble to his credit. Defensive lineman Alim McNeill also starred given 39 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 pass defended. Perhaps the best season was enjoyed by St. Brown, though. Here’s a look at his work:
It wasn’t just the rookie class that played and made waves, though. Several second-year players for the Lions managed to have impressive showings, such as linebacker Julian Okwara who put up a solid season on the field with 5 sacks, 27 tackles, 2 passes defended and 1 forced fumble. Offensive lineman Jonah Jackson also played well and looked like a rock for the team up front again, playing in 16 total games for the second straight year. Add it all up and the Lions had a solid season from the players they are counting on to push them forward to a better future.
Brockers’ Career Stats & Highlights
The impact Brockers has made after he was a first-round pick of the Rams out of LSU back in 2012 cannot be debated. He has been an anchor in the middle of the team’s line and a player that is capable of packing a punch in the pocket. Brockers has put up 387 total tackles, 28 sacks, 9 passes defended and 2 forced fumbles in his career in Los Angeles. Moreover, he’s been to the Super Bowl and is a veteran leader the team has been able to count on when he has played in the league.
Here’s a look at some highlights:
When playing for the Lions, the team saw Brockers bring some of his patented pocket pressure as well as his leadership to the team. During the 2021-22 season, he put up 52 tackles and 1 sack for the team. His leadership, though, always seemed like the most important variable for a Lions team trying to change their entire culture. To this end, adding Brockers was a home-run move.