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Jashon Cornell Could Be Source of Interior Pass-Rush Help for Lions

Could rookie DT Jashon Cornell provide interior pass-rush help for the Lions in 2020? Read more.

The Detroit Lions spent a seventh-round pick on defensive tackle Jashon Cornell this year. 

Not that a late-round selection is typically relied upon to provide an instant impact, but maybe, just maybe, Cornell could see the field sooner than later.

It’s no secret that the Lions' defense had some struggles in the pass-rush department a season ago. 

Detroit general manager Bob Quinn did add a few pieces to the defensive line in attempt to aid the team's effort in getting after the quarterback as well. 

However, the interior of the Lions' line is still a bit of a question mark, especially when it comes to rushing the passer.

The Lions drafted nose tackle John Penisini a round earlier than Cornell, and the two rookie defensive tackles have very different styles of play. 

Looking at their respective size and weight can tell you all you need to know about the big men. 

Penisini is listed at 325 pounds, while Cornell -- a former defensive end -- is currently 290 pounds, according to the Lions' roster. 

A nose tackle like Penisini plays a much different role than the 3-or-5-tech in the Lions' defense. 

In essence, they will likely not even be competing for the same position.

Perhaps a dark horse to make the Lions' roster, Cornell’s spot on the team is far from guaranteed. 

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One positive aspect of Cornell’s game is his pass-rush ability. 

In a run-first defense, if Cornell can carve out a niche role on passing downs, there is a path to him making the final 53-man squad. 

While at Ohio State, Cornell had a great senior season after playing more at defensive tackle than down defensive end. 

Pro Football Focus ranked Cornell as the fourth-best overall interior defensive tackle in this year's draft -- largely due to his pass-rush grade of 86.1.

Again, expectations should remain low for Cornell. 

In saying that, he could be one of the organization's best bets when it comes to finding interior pressure.


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