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Saturday open thread: Who is the Detroit Lions’ best defensive player?

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The Lions have a ton of talent on the offensive side of the ball, but who leads the pack on defense?

NFL: New York Giants at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the Detroit Lions, we know who they are on offense. They’re led by a top-tier quarterback, and have weapons at every level. On paper, this is a team that could easily average in the high 20s or low 30s in points scored, should Matthew Stafford stay healthy for a full season.

But on the defensive side of the ball, questions continue to mount. We know what Matt Patricia is trying to do, but we’ve yet to see him really have any sort of consistent success. We’ve seen flashes—whether it be holding Tom Brady scoreless in 2018 or stalling the Kansas City Chiefs’ dynamic offense for as long as humanly possible. But that success has never lasted more than a game or two.

Of course, it’s not all Patricia’s fault. The Lions’ defensive roster has not been up to NFL standards the past couple years. This offseason, however, the Lions added a lot of new players, and it’s fair to say Patricia finally has his guys.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Who is the Lions’ best defensive player right now?

My answer: Prior to this year, it was clearly Darius Slay. But after the trade, this answer isn’t quite as easy.

Is it Trey Flowers, the $90 million man? Flowers is the highest-paid player on that side of the ball, but he’s never had more than 7.5 sacks in a season, and doesn’t have many individual accomplishes to his name.

Or is it one of the guys the Lions replaced Slay with? Desmond Trufant is a former Pro Bowler and was once considered one of the top corners in the league. He’s still only 29 years old, but his struggles with injuries have caused many to forget about him. Meanwhile, third overall pick Jeff Okudah hasn’t played a game yet, but there’s no higher-drafted player on that side of the ball.

Or is the answer one of the Lions’ upcoming talents? Expectations remain extremely high for safety Tracy Walker, and Da’Shawn Hand could be a game-changer if he stays healthy.

The only other true candidate is veteran linebacker Jamie Collins Sr., who could act as the missing piece of this group, as he’s finally the seasoned linebacker this group hasn’t had under Matt Patricia.

As of now, I still think the answer is Trey Flowers, but I could certainly see there being a changing of the guard with Okudah as early as this year.

Your turn.

Poll

Who is the Lions’ best defensive player right now?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Trey Flowers
    (781 votes)
  • 1%
    Desmond Trufant
    (27 votes)
  • 12%
    Jeff Okudah
    (187 votes)
  • 11%
    Tracy Walker
    (174 votes)
  • 16%
    Jamie Collins Sr.
    (244 votes)
  • 5%
    Other
    (88 votes)
1501 votes total Vote Now