Detroit Lions’ Linebackers Positioned 22nd in NFL Hierarchy

The Detroit Lions‘ defense has been under intense scrutiny over the past few seasons.

With a revamped defensive line and secondary, the linebackers unit will see familiar faces vying for playing time.

Jack Campbell, Alex Anzalone, and Derrick Barnes are expected to anchor the unit, but questions linger about whether they can meet defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn’s expectations.

In a recent Pro Football Focus ranking of NFL linebackers, Detroit was placed at 22nd.

“The rookie learning curve for linebackers is tough, so Jack Campbell’s first-year struggles shouldn’t be much of a cause for concern,” writes Gordon McGuinness. “It’s just a matter of how quickly he can improve in his second season after earning a 75.8 PFF run-defense grade and a 35.3 coverage grade. Slotting in next to Campbell, Alex Anzalone is coming off the highest-graded season of his career (69.8) in his seventh NFL campaign.”

Throughout his tenure coaching the linebackers, Kelvin Sheppard has focused on instilling confidence in the unit, emphasizing that consistent performance in practice and games can earn them playing time.

“It’s hard to define roles until we get to camp and closer to the season. But these guys know, I’ve played five-deep in my room last year, and I’ve done that consistently since I got here,” said Sheppard. “I take pride in it because I’ve been that player, standing on the sidelines with the best seat in the house but never getting my cleats on the grass.”

Players like Malcolm Rodriguez, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and Mitchell Agude will have a chance at training camp to improve their standings on the depth chart.

“In my opinion, these guys work too hard for that to ever happen. So if a guy’s established that he can help us on game day, that may be five plays,” said Sheppard. “Like I tell Malcolm, he went from playing 60 plays to five-to-ten plays. If you have a role in the game, get in there and maximize your opportunities.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.