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Tuesday open thread: Can Anthony Zettel be an acceptable starter in 2017?

The Lions may have to rely heavily on Anthony Zettel in 2017. Can he rise to the challenge?

NFL: Detroit Lions at New York Giants Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, Detroit Lions fans were wringing their hands over the left tackle position. With Taylor Decker out for at least a month of the regular season, no one was quite sure if Greg Robinson or Cyrus Kouandjio were capable to stepping in and taking over the starting job.

Since then, Robinson has taken major strides and seems like the easy favorite to win the job. And while left tackle continues to be a big concern, this week’s Worry of the Week has shifted to the other side of the ball—and rightfully so.

Now that it appears both Kerry Hyder and Brandon Copeland have suffered season-ending injuries, the Lions are desperately thin at a position they were already weak at: defensive end.

Lions fans are searching everywhere for their knight in shining armor, whether it be free agent addition Cornelius Washington, the undrafted rookie duo of Jeremiah Valoaga and Alex Barrett or a player that currently resides on another team’s roster or in the free agent pool.

But during Sunday’s game, it was Anthony Zettel who stole the show. Zettel immediately jumped into the lineup after Hyder went down, and provided some consistent pressure and a big tackle for loss.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Do you think Anthony Zettel can be an acceptable starter at left defensive end in 2017?

My answer: Right now, I don’t think he’s there. Zettel, a 2016 sixth-round pick, looked like a very raw, very long-term project in his rookie season. In 13 game appearances, Zettel had just 13 tackles and 1.0 sacks.

At the beginning of camp, Zettel was considered on the roster bubble—though most had him on the inside. Still, one good performance against a subpar Colts offensive line doesn’t have me drinking the Zettel Kool-Aid just yet. In all honesty, I hope the Lions can find their starter elsewhere and let Zettel develop at a slower pace as a rotational player. I just think this would be too quick of a jump for him.

Your turn.


Do you think Anthony Zettel could be an acceptable starter in 2017?

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664 votes total Vote Now

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