The Detroit Lions have done heavy lifting with their roster during free agency, and have improved their fortunes for 2023 in a big way with the work they have done.
In spite of that, the opportunity does exist for the Lions to make a few more moves to give themselves an even bigger leg-up ahead of the season. One spot the Lions could choose to upgrade is along the defensive line.
There are still some great fits on the market for the team, and an addition could prove huge as it relates to helping depth as well as some better grit along the defensive line for a big season.
Heavy NFL insider Matt Lombardo took a look at naming some of the best free agents left on the market and their top fits in the league. One of the names that came up was defensive lineman Poona Ford, formally of Seattle.
Ford was listed as a fit for the Lions by Lombardo, who pointed out the value of an outstanding presence on the interior for a contending team relative to what others at the same position have done recently in the league.
“Few things are more detrimental or disruptive to a quarterback than interior pressure, and Poona Ford excels at creating inside push from the defensive tackle spot. In 2022 with the Seattle Seahawks, Ford produced 22 quarterback pressures to go with his career-high 3.0 sacks, 14 hurries and 35 total tackles. Disruptive interior defenders have proven their value time and again, as the Philadelphia Eagles have seen throughout Fletcher Cox’s career, and the Kansas City Chiefs have benefited from Chris Jones’ presence along their defensive line. Ford is arguably a top-15 talent at the position and could provide similar value to a contending team aiming to beef up along the trenches,” Lombardo wrote in the piece.
In addition to the Lions, the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers were named the best fits for Ford’s services on the market in 2023. Adding him could certainly help the Detroit defensive line boost up their depth ahead of the 2023 season.
Pairing Ford with another young draft pick as well as Alim McNeill would be a very interesting move for the Lions in terms of giving their line a chance to be a strength of the team in 2023. Far too often, that wasn’t the case last year.
Lions Defensive Line Needs Offseason Boost
There is simply no question that the Lions could use some help along the defensive line the rest of the offseason. Perhaps the only question is whether or not the Lions elect to address the need in the draft.
There are plenty of top prospects the Lions could look at during the draft, including defensive tackles Jalen Carter and Calijah Kancey in the first-round, and also edge players like Tyree Wilson, Will Anderson Jr., Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy and others.
Detroit seems to need young help across the board, so the potential for them to add some elite bodies to the linebacker and defensive line rooms to supplement what has already been done feels like a fantastic opportunity for the team.
The Lions added Isaiah Buggs and John Cominsky back to the group from within, but based on how they finished 2022, it’s clear that another upgrade could be welcome for the defensive front.
Detroit finished very poorly in run defense last season, having allowed 2,491 yards on the ground and over 146 per-game, which placed at 29th in the league. Throwing even more resources at this position could be a good way to find a fix.
Poona Ford’s Career Stats & Highlights
In past years, the Lions have settled for underrated buys on the market that have made a big difference, and in terms of one on the line this year, Ford could be that guy.
Coming into the league undrafted out of Texas in 2018, Ford made his mark in a big way with 164 tackles, 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He’s the kind of grinder that could fill a quality role for the team and offer consistent snaps given his NFL experience.
Ford is an intriguing player, and he seems to have the grinder mindset the Lions will love up front on defense. He would fit the locker room well and could offer way more production for a cheaper price along the team’s defensive front.
Even the insiders seem to realize the value of Ford’s potential fit with Detroit, and what he could bring to a needy team in the middle of a line.