After losing defensive ends Cliff Avril, Lawrence Jackson and Kyle Vanden Bosch to free agency this offseason, the Detroit Lions‘ perennially-loaded stable of edge-rushers suddenly looked a little empty heading into the spring.
hey did draft Ziggy Ansah fifth overall in the 2013 NFL draft and sign Jason Jones, who can play a versatile mix of tackle and end, but the jury’s out on how much pass-rush either can contribute from the end spot right now.
Detroit’s ability to harass the passer — and avoid collapsing on defense as a whole — could very well come down to how much inside pressure it generates. And with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, they can do this with the best of them, ranking second and fifth respectively among defensive tackles in pass-rush grading, according to Pro Football Focus.
You can even argue that no defensive tackles played better than them down the stretch last season outside of the Cincinnati Bengals‘ Geno Atkins. Perhaps Suh’s maturation and increased production is rubbing off on the younger Fairley, but this duo looks terrifying for NFC North foes.
“I’m quiet in my own ways. When I feel the need to speak up, and it’s important, when I have something on my mind, I think anybody who knows me, and my coaches definitely know, I’m not afraid to speak up,” Suh said, via the team’s website.
Leadership is something that just comes along as it goes. You don’t want to force it. You don’t want to push yourself on being a leader because, usually, that becomes a rebellion-type thing. You let it come as it goes and just let it be natural. I definitely feel I’m a leader.”