While the Detroit Lions rank towards the top of the league in overall sacks (third), they have failed to generate consistent pressure both from the edges and the interior of the line. With the team on its bye week currently, they may be looking to upgrade that front seven to find some pass rushers available across the league.
That could be why, according to Ian Rapoport, the Lions are hosting former second-round pick Tank Carradine for a visit on Wednesday:
Carradine was a polarizing prospect in the draft. He had all the physical tools to be an outstanding edge player, but he didn’t have a ton of playing experience, and his college career ended with a torn ACL. Regardless, the 49ers picked him 40th overall in the 2013 draft.
But the skeptics turned out to be onto something. Carradine only started eight total games for the 49ers over four years, totalling just 5.5 sacks.
This offseason, the Raiders gave him a shot, and while he ended up making the team, he only played in Oakland’s Week 2 game against the Broncos. He then requested a release from the team, and the Raiders granted his request last week.
For the Lions, Carradine could provide an additional body along the front seven that has quite a bit of versatility. In addition to being a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker (he has experience as both), Carradine’s strength gives him the potential to slide inside as a potential 5-tech in specific packages.
However, Carradine’s strength remains his pass rushing abilities as a pure edge rusher. In Oakland, he slimmed down, but retained his strength. Here’s the Raiders’ defensive coordinator on Carradine from back in August:
“Tank’s a physical player in there,” Guenther said. “Over the tight ends, tough to block for a tight end. He’s picked it up. He’s smart. He’s understanding our defense. All the different blitzes and the coverages and fronts that we’re running. He’s been a real good surprise for us.”
Obviously, things didn’t work out that well for the Raiders, who were desperately looking for a pass rusher to replace Khalil Mack. However, we’ve seen the Lions already use other teams’ spare parts (Romeo Okwara, Eli Harold) and turn them into somewhat efficient players. Maybe Carradine will be the next.