It seems every year a Detroit Lions player comes out of nowhere to perform way above expectations. Either someone that nobody thought would realistically contribute ends up a major player or a youngster finally takes a step to become one of the team’s better players.
Last year, it was undoubtedly Kerry Hyder, who stepped up in a big way when Ezekiel Ansah went down with an ankle injury. Hyder, who had previously appeared in just one NFL game in his career, managed to score 8.0 sacks in 2016.
This year, the field is wide open for another breakout perform from just about anyone. There is a whole new cast of defensive players on the roster, and a few newbies on offense as well. So today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions player will have a breakout performance in 2017?
My answer: A’Shawn Robinson.
While a lot of people may be expecting a big year out of Robinson, I think he may even surprise some of the most optimistic fans. Last year, Robinson had just 2.0 sacks, but really turned heads with his seven passes defended, the most of any defensive tackle in the league.
However, during his brief time in the preseason this year, Robinson showed off a talent that many didn’t think was in his repertoire: a pass rush.
A'Shawn Robinson continues to have a productive preseason pic.twitter.com/n2wsn0RKAk— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 26, 2017
Robinson has always been thought of as a space-clogger and good run defender, but not as a guy who can typically put pressure on the opposing quarterback. However, if he can turn his slice of preseason success into a full season of keeping the quarterback on the run, I could see Robinson realistically having an season with eight or more sacks. The Lions haven’t had a defensive tackle come anywhere close to eight sacks since Ndamukong Suh had 8.5 in 2014.