What is Going on With Detroit’s Defensive Line?

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The Detroit Lions found out earlier this month that defensive lineman Armonty Bryant was suspended for the first three games of the season due to violations of the substance abuse policy. Earlier in the year, fellow defensive lineman Khyri Thornton was suspended for six games for violating the substance abuse policy.

With Khyri Thornton suspended, the Lions defensive line depth becomes even lighter. Haloti Ngata and A’shawn Robinson are the assumed starters this year, even though Ngata will see less time on the field. Behind those two is Akeem Spence and Jordan Hill. Those two do not exactly bring the most confidence in a fan. Spence has put up only 64 career solo tackles along with 5.5 sacks in 56 career games throughout 4 years. Hill, in 31 games, has had 31 solo tackles and 7.0 sacks. Hill has battled injuries throughout his career, and he missed 12 games just last season. Jeremiah Ledbetter, the Lions sixth round pick from the University of Arkansas, had a solid college career, including 41 solo tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 15 tackles for a loss.

With Armonty Bryant suspended for the first three games, the depth has become much worse. Ziggy Ansah is a lock to start while Kerry Hyder and Cornelius Washington will fight it out for the final starting spot during the preseason. Anthony Zettel will likely see himself in a bigger role, as he put up 13 tackles and 1 sack in 13 games last season. Patrick O’Connor, the seventh round pick from Eastern Michigan University, enjoyed a good college career, including 68 tackles in 48 games. He also put up 20.0 career sacks and 19 tackles for a loss.

It would not be surprising to see the Lions sign a defensive tackle as the current depth needs improvement. While the depth does not currently bring much hope for Lions fans, once Khyri Thornton and Armonty Bryant return, hope will be restored.

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