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Detroit Lions Week 4 snap counts: Linebacker usage reflects poorly on draft picks

The Lions’ drafted linebackers are suddenly disappearing from the lineup.

New Orleans Saints v Detroit Lions Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Here’s a look at the Detroit Lions’ Week 4 snap counts against the New Orleans Saints.

Offense

Quarterbacks:

Matthew Stafford: 61 (100%)

Running backs:

Adrian Peterson: 27 (44%)
D’Andre Swift: 23 (38%) — 6 special teams snaps (24%)
Kerryon Johnson: 11 (18%)
Jason Cabinda: 5 (8%) — 16 (64%)

Tight ends:

T.J. Hockenson: 46 (75%)
Jesse James: 30 (49%) — 9 (36%)

Wide receivers:

Marvin Jones Jr.: 54 (89%)
Kenny Golladay: 50 (82%)
Danny Amendola: 34 (56%) — 1 (4%)
Jamal Agnew: 11 (18%) — 14 (56%)
Quintez Cephus: 6 (10%) — 6 (24%)
Marvin Hall: 5 (8%) — 5 (20%)

Offensive tackles:

Tyrell Crosby: 61 (100%) — 3 (12%)
Taylor Decker: 61 (100%)
Matt Nelson: 3 (5%) — 3 (12%)

Guards/centers

Frank Ragnow: 61 (100%)
Jonah Jackson: 61 (100%) — 3 (12%)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 61 (100%) — 3 (12%)
Kenny Wiggins: 0 (0%) — 3 (12%)
Oday Aboushi: 0 (0%) — 3 (12%)

Observations:

  • Due to the Lions being a little more pass-heavy on offense than usual, D’Andre Swift played a bigger part in the game plan. After playing in just six snaps last week, he saw nearly four times that against the Saints. He turned those 23 snaps into eight touches, 55 yards and a score.
  • Kenny Golladay saw a near full workload in his second week back from injury. His participation rate went from 73 percent last week to 82 on Sunday. He’ll likely be a full go after Detroit’s Week 5 bye.
  • Frank Ragnow curiously was taken off special teams this week. We’ve seen the Lions do this before with a player that was dealing with an injury, as to not over-exhaust them, but Ragnow was not on the injury report this week.

Defense:

Defensive end:

Trey Flowers: 53 (76%) — 5 (20%)
Romeo Okwara: 52 (74%) — 10 (40%)

Defensive tackle:

Danny Shelton: 52 (74%) — 5 (20%)
Da’Shawn Hand: 37 (53%) — 5 (20%)
Nick Williams: 26 (37%)
John Penisini: 22 (31%)

Linebackers:

Jamie Collins Sr.: 63 (90%) — 1 (4%)
Reggie Ragland: 44 (63%) — 6 (24%)
Christian Jones: 37 (53%) — 9 (36%)
Jarrad Davis: 19 (27%) — 7 (28%)
Julian Okwara: 10 (14%) — 11 (44%)
Jahlani Tavai: 9 (13%) — 5 (20%)
Jalen Reeves-Maybin: 1 (1%) — 22 (88%)

Cornerbacks:

Amani Oruwariye: 60 (86%) — 5 (20%)
Desmond Trufant: 44 (63%)
Jeff Okudah: 38 (54%)
Darryl Roberts: 32 (46%) — 2 (8%)
Tony McRae: 0 (0%) — 16 (64%)

Safeties:

Tracy Walker: 70 (100%) — 6 (24%)
Duron Harmon: 69 (99%) — 9 (36%)
Will Harris: 22 (31%) — 17 (68%)
Jayron Kearse: 10 (14%) — 15 (60%)
Miles Killebrew: 0 (0%) — 22 (88%)

Observations:

  • The injury to Nick Williams caused every other defensive tackle to see increased playing time. Danny Shelton’s 52 snaps was a season high.
  • The Lions’ linebacker situation continues to be extremely unpredictable. Last week, Jahlani Tavai was the team’s starting jack linebacker (58 snaps). This week, he played in just nine snaps, as the Lions went with more four-man fronts (see Romeo Okwara’s increase in playing time). Reggie Ragland was also given a huge increase in workload—sometimes in that jack linebacker spot. Of course, none of this change up front seemed to make any difference, as the Lions defense continued its struggles against the Saints.
  • However, the main takeaway here is Detroit’s drafted linebackers: Jahlani Tavai and Jarrad Davis combined for just 28 snaps on Sunday. That’s a first and second-round pick being essentially benched for free agent pickups.
  • With Desmond Trufant’s return, it was Amani Oruwariye that maintained a starting role. At one point, he was benched for rookie Jeff Okudah, but when Trufant aggravated his hamstring injury, it was Okudah and Oruwariye the rest of the way.
  • Whatever that Will Harris experiment was for the first two weeks of the season, it appears that may be over with. Tracy Walker is back in his every-down role. Also of note, in Jayron Kearse’s return from suspension, he played in just 10 snaps.

Special teams:

Jack Fox: 11 special teams snaps (44%)
Don Muhlbach: 7 (28%)
Matt Prater: 4 (16%)