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For Levi Onwuzurike, It's about Getting 'Comfortable'

Detroit Lions defensive end Levi Onwuzurike is gradually making his presence known along the team's defensive line.

Lions 2021 second-round pick Levi Onwuzurike is gradually making his presence known along Detroit's defensive line. 

The 23-year-old defensive end is coming off a game -- the Lions' Week 5 loss to the Minnesota Vikings -- during which he suited up for a season-high 20 defensive snaps and accumulated a career-best four total tackles. 

The Texas native hasn't gotten on the field a lot yet, but he's turned it into a positive, taking advantage of learning from the players ahead of him on the depth chart -- veterans Michael Brockers and Nick Williams. 

"You've got to come in wanting to learn, and if you learn, you get better, you get out there. You've got to have the whole knowledge of the defense, and then, you'll get out there," Onwuzurike told reporters Thursday. "I'm learning behind some great dudes, and as I get better and better, I'll be headed out there." 


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For Onwuzurike, his rookie campaign has been comprised of growing comfortable playing in Detroit's defense -- something which he admitted comes with more reps. 

'It's mostly just being comfortable, taking the coaching from the older guys," Onwuzurike said. "As you take a lot of reps, you're going to get better. So, I think in the NFL, you've got to get comfortable as quick as you can, as fast as you can." 

Onwuzurike appears to be on the right track to earn more playing time moving forward, with the Lions set to play the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6. 

Yet, as Detroit defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn told reporters Thursday, the new Lions regime, led by head coach Dan Campbell, wants its players to "earn" their reps on a weekly basis. 

"We try to say it's a competition each week with all of our players," Glenn said. "I mean, you look at the safety (position) with (Dean) Marlowe, he's getting his chance to go out there and play also. So, you have to earn your keep, and I believe that, in this league. And, we try to make sure that's with all players. I think that's one of the reasons why each player has improved, because of that. And, competition makes everyone better."