In any otherwise less-than-stellar season, edge rusher Romeo Okwara served as a rare bright spot on the Detroit Lions defense.
Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey selected Okwara as the most improved Lion in his analysis of all 32 teams.
A waiver claim in 2018, the 25 year old had a promising 2018 season with the Lions registering 7.5 sacks in 15 games. That flash of talent grew dim in 2019 in a limited role as he dropped to a mere 1.5 sacks.
Okwara bounced back for a standout season in 2020, registering 10 sacks and 61 total quarterback pressures. That was the highest number of sacks of the Lions defense and the ninth-most quarterback pressures in the NFL.
“His pass-rushing grade of 85.4 was a top-10 mark at the position. Okwara’s previous career high was just 58.3 in 2019,” Linsey explains.
When discussing the defense, head coach Dan Campbell pointed to Okwara as a highlight as early as his opening press conference: “(Romeo) Okwara had a good year. There were a number of pieces here I was excited about.”
This just so happens to be a contract year for Okwara — so will the Lions lock him down? At his age, it’s possible his strongest football years are ahead of him.
“It’s always risky trying to evaluate a pass rusher entering free agency on an outlier season like the one Okwara just had, and that’s exactly the task the new front office and coaching staff is left with this offseason,” Linsey writes.
And onto the rest of your notes.
- LionWire’s Jeff Ridson identifies some trends to determine what we can learn from the new Lions regime’s past when it comes to the draft.
- The Detroit Free Press’ Carlos Monarrez says that if the Lions select a quarterback with their first-round pick, he probably won’t play immediately under new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn.
- Calvin Johnson with some love for the Motor City fans.
- According to the sportsbooks, the Detroit Lions are tied with the worst odds to win the Super Bowl, reports Mlive’s Benjamin Raven.
- The Lions go with North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance at No. 7 in Sports Illustrated Chad Reuter’s latest mock draft.