The Detroit Lions have had a busy week. On Thursday they added a third new face to the active-53 man roster in offensive lineman Brian Mihalik. But before Detroit made that move, they added some help along the defensive line, claiming former Browns defender Armonty Bryant off of waivers.
The move was paired with placing defensive end Wallace Gilberry on injured reserve. With the Lions already shorthanded at end because of the injury to Ezekiel Ansah, Bryant will likely have an immediate role with the Lions defense. To see what Bryant can provide the Lions defense with, we tapped Chris Pokorny of Browns blog Dawgs By Nature to give us an inside look at Bryant’s play:
During his time with the Browns, Armonty Bryant bounced between the defensive end and outside linebacker positions. His best season came in 2015 (as an outside linebacker), when he logged a career-high 5.5 sacks.The Browns only won three games last year, and all of Bryant's sacks came in those games. I think that is an indication that Bryant can be a productive pass rusher when he has good complimentary pieces around him, but he's not the player who will single-handedly get a defense over-the-hump.
Besides his pass-rushing skills, he did a fair job against the run. As far as what happened to lead to his release, he had some off-the-field issues at the end of last season. The new regime kept him through the preseason,but it never felt like he was still on the team because he was working with the third-teamers and had a four-game suspension pending. The good thing for Detroit is that he's still a young player who showed a lot of growth as a player last year. If Detroit has the right coaching in place,he can be a good rotational player for the Lions.
There are a couple things to digest there. First, it’s a bit disheartening to hear that Bryant needs complementary pieces to succeed, considering Lions’ defensive line has been all hype no product so far. But at just 26 years old and already having a 5.5 sack season under his belt, Bryant could actually project as a decent player if he continues to grow.
The biggest impediment to his growth, however, is the off the field issues. Bryant just came off of a four-game suspension for violating the performance-enhancing substance policy. Additionally, he plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of drug possession charges back in July. If he can put those incidents behind him and focus on football, this could be a savvy signing from the Lions.