Tom Petty once said “the waiting is the hardest part.” For Detroit Lions fans, that’s all they had for the first few days of free agency. It seemed like plenty of other teams were having fun while the Lions were vanishing players off their roster like Thanos after he got all the infinity stones.
But then late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning, after Bill Belichick stopped spending money like a 45-year-old man whose teenage daughter told him he wasn’t cool, the Lions made their first significant move.
The #Rams are finalizing a trade to send veteran DL Michael Brockers to the #Lions, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 17, 2021
This was a pretty good first move by general manager Brad Holmes. The Lions had the worst defense in the league in 2021 and their pass rush may have been the biggest reason why. After Holmes has dropped quite a few Lions defenders and re-signed Romeo Okwara, the Lions have a pretty decent base to build around.
The other great thing is that the Lions got Brockers for an absolute steal when they sent a 2023 seventh-round draft pick over to the Rams in exchange for Brockers. Sure it helps both teams out, but it costs the Lions next to nothing if this fails horribly.
While Brockers has been around for a while, we feel like there’s more we can learn about him. So we asked our pal Kenneth Arthur from Turf Show Times to fill us in. Here’s what he had to say.
What are your thoughts on Brockers time with the Rams?
“Brockers is a very solid player. Nobody ever dislikes having Michael Brockers on their team, although I guess up to this point that’s only been one team. Brockers signed with the Ravens last year but they backed out of the deal because of an ankle issue during his physical. Brockers returned to the Rams on a three-year deal after that and never showed any real injury concerns, so not entirely sure what happened there in Baltimore.
But he had his most productive season since 2013 and he continued to be a defensive piece that never hurts his team, even if his ceiling isn’t exactly that of a premier pass rusher or run-stuffer. He’s just pretty much solid all around. The only thing that’s really disappointing about Brockers is that he never lived up to being what many expect from a player drafted 14th overall, but I’d say Brockers might actually be exactly what you should expect from a mid-first round pick. If you get nine years of starting week in and week out from a mid-first round pick, that’s not the worst thing in the world.”
What are his strengths?
“Leadership, intensity, experience. And I mean, it’s not like he’s a bad player. You already know what his statistics are and the truth is that we have no way of separating his sack totals and QB hits and such from what the presence of Aaron Donald does for his teammates. Having Donald next to you helps a lot because that’s a guy who always leads the league (or close to it) in double and triple-teams. If Brockers hadn’t been paired with Donald in 2014, who knows what becomes of him, but he stuck around for all these years because he’s more than just “a guy.” I’m curious to see what his strengths will look like playing apart from Donald.”
What are his weaknesses?
“Is Brockers going to accumulate even four or five sacks on Detroit’s defense? That wouldn’t seem to be his strength, if he could barely reach that number with the Rams most years. I don’t think the Lions are getting a pass rusher. They’re getting a run-stopper, a rotational piece, a veteran leader. But his play has probably peaked at this point and I would say his “weakness” is that he doesn’t have any dramatic strengths on the field that aren’t intangibles.”
How do you see Brockers working out in Detroit?
“That’s certainly a better question for you than it is for me, but I’d say that he’s a quality piece to have added in between Trey Flowers and Romeo Okwara, given that the Lions didn’t have to give up anything. And a 2023 seventh is LESS than nothing. Hell, just some future accounting for the Rams. I don’t entirely mean that, but you do know what I mean, it’s a “free” spin of the wheel for a team that doesn’t need to save money and didn’t give up anything of value. Brockers might have a fine career in Detroit, or he could be like a lot of vets: a one-year rental who returns to the Rams in 2022. That wouldn’t surprise me either. I don’t know that I see him as any sort of long-term piece to the puzzle for the Lions. But a good veteran to have around.”