May 21, 2012; Allen Park, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive end Willie Young (79) during organized team activities at Detroit Lions training facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Cliff Avril's absence this offseason has been Willie Young. With Avril not under contract and not around the Detroit Lions, Young has been given a whole lot more reps at defensive end and a whole lot more chances to prove himself to coaches.
As a result of the increased opportunities for Young, there has actually been a lot of hype surrounding him this offseason. That's unusual for a backup defensive end, but quite a few fans have been on Young's bandwagon for a while now. With training camp underway and Avril still not with the team, Young seems to be delivering on that hype.
Schwartz on DE Willie Young: "He's had a good consistent first week of camp." Makes the Avril situation much more bearable— Lions RapidReports (@CBSSportsNFLDET) August 2, 2012
— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) August 2, 2012
#Lions Willie Young with spin move on Jason Fox. Cliff Avril needs to hurry up cause Young is ballin
Willie Young owning the O-line in rush drill. Making the most of Avril's absence.,— Lions RapidReports (@CBSSportsNFLDET) August 2, 2012
Even without Avril, the Lions have no shortage of depth at defensive end right now with guys like Young, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Lawrence Jackson and Everette Brown still around. Once Avril does return, their depth will be among the very best in the NFL at defensive end.