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Detroit Lions roster review: Defensive tackle

A look back at how the Detroit Lions' defensive tackles performed in 2012.


As part of our season wrap-up series, we are going to examine how each player on the roster performed in 2012. Next up is our look at the Detroit Lions' defensive tackles.

Ndamukong Suh - 16 games (16 starts) | 35 tackles, 8.0 sacks, 2 pass defenses, 0 FF

Statistically speaking, Suh once again failed to reach the level of play he achieved in his rookie season. However, he was much improved from 2011. Especially in the final couple months of the season, Suh made his presence felt. Even though his play may not have always shown up in the box score, it was clear he was affecting opposing offenses. Perhaps if the defensive ends were more productive, Suh would have been able to do even more.

Nick Fairley (finished season on IR) - 13 games (7 starts) | 34 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 1 pass defense, 2 FF

Fairley really had an impressive season until an injury ended it a few weeks early. When he was healthy, Fairley showed exactly why he was a first-round pick. Like Suh, he made his presence felt, and he showed an awful lot of potential. The tandem of Suh and Fairley should be fun to watch in the coming years.

Corey Williams (finished season on IR) - 7 games (5 starts) | 9 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 0 pass defenses, 1 FF

Williams dealt with injuries all season long. When he was actually able to play, he did a good job, but that was for less than half of the season. With him set to be a free agent, it remains to be seen if he will return to the Lions. If he does come back, it will be as a backup, as his absence allowed Fairley to step up as a starter.

Sammie Hill (finished season on IR) - 15 games (3 starts) | 15 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 3 pass defenses, 0 FF

Hill's numbers were down from previous seasons, especially with him not recording a single sack. However, he was an important part of the rotation at defensive tackle in 2012, especially once injuries started piling up. Hill was also struck by the injury bug at the very end of the season, but he only missed one game. Like Williams, he is set to become a free agent this offseason.

Andre Fluellen - 3 games (1 start) | 6 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 0 pass defenses, 0 FF

Fluellen was let go during the final round of roster cuts before the season because there just wasn't room for a fifth defensive tackle. He later returned to the team during the season because of injuries and played in three games. Depending on how the numbers work out, the Lions could look to bring him back next season.

Ogemdi Nwagbuo - 1 game (0 starts) | 0 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 0 pass defenses, 0 FF

Nwagbuo was signed as the Lions looked for more depth at the end of the season because of injuries, and he appeared in only one game.

Jimmy Saddler-McQueen - 1 game (0 starts) | 0 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 0 pass defenses, 0 FF

Saddler-McQueen was in the same boat as Nwagbuo. The only difference is that Saddler-McQueen was signed from the practice squad.

Previously: Quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, offensive guard, center, defensive end

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