While the Detroit Lions' defense was able to make do in 2021 without several key members of the roster, one aspect of the defense continues to need improvement.
In 2021, the Lions finished 27th in the National Football League in sack rate.
Despite efforts to improve the defensive line, Detroit's defense has consistently finished in the bottom-third of the league in the aforementioned stat the past few seasons.
This April, Detroit will have the opportunity to draft one of the premier defensive linemen in the country, as it currently holds the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 draft.
It is likely the team will add either Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux or Michigan's Aidan Hutchinson to work with defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.
"You can never have enough pass rushers. Now, I did think losing a Romeo Okwara earlier in the year, that hurt cause we were really counting on him. But, really like what Charles Harris did for us, we really like the growth that Julian Okwara had," Holmes said. "We like the growth of Austin Bryant, a Jessie Lemonier, those kind of guys, getting opportunities and producing."
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Romeo Okwara led the Lions with 10 sacks in 2020, but was lost for the season after appearing in only four games this season.
The talented defensive lineman spoke to reporters recently, and believes the team is putting together a special defense.
"I think we can be really, really special," he said. "We just have to keep grinding, and as guys get healthy, we continue to put the defense together. I think we have a chance to be really, really special here."
Dealing with his first significant injury was challenging physically, but it also took a toll mentally on the 26-year-old lineman.
Okwara explained, "It was definitely tough mentally. This is my first major injury, and just going through surgery for the first time is definitely tough. But, at the same time, I think it just taught me a lot of patience, and gave me appreciation for the game at a higher level. But, just still grateful nonetheless."