Sunday, June 26, 2022

Analyst Proclaims Young Lions Lineman ‘On the Bubble’ for 2022

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With improved depth across the board, the roster decisions the Detroit Lions will have to make this season will be momentous and very difficult.

One of the most difficult points to project at this point remains the defensive line. Detroit has invested time rebuilding the group ahead of the 2022 season, and as such some people will feel the pressure when the time comes to trim the roster later this summer.

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One of the players who could feel the most heat is defenseman Austin Bryant. So far, Bryant has done a little bit of everything to stay, but his future could be up in the air.

“Austin Bryant might be an odd man up front. He might also stick around as a versatile pass rusher – they got him taking on reps on the rim and as deep in as a 1/2 tech. Its length and ability to cover ground are still quite fascinating traits. He was active up front,” Burke tweeted watch after practice.

Interestingly, Bryant had a career year in 2021 in which he managed to accumulate 5.5 sacks and field tackles. That showed what he could be, but with multiple additions at the helm, the odds might not be in his favor at this point. John Penisini’s abrupt resignation could help, but Bryant needs to keep proving himself and earning a role.

It seems he will be one of the biggest roster cases to remember this offseason.

Obviously, this reality with Bryant has been speculated for some time. The team has some solid players on defense, and a formally sterile defensive line will bring four new characters onto the field from the first three rounds of the last two drafts combined. That puts pressure on young veterans currently in the roster to convince and impress the coaching staff.

One of those players in this situation is linebacker and edge rusher Austin Bryant. While Bryant had a breakout season in 2021 by his own standards, the rusher could still be under pressure to produce next season given all the new talent coming into the mix. That’s exactly what Bleacher Report sees ahead of a new season.

As writer Ian Wharton explained a few months ago, Detroit’s depth could hurt Bryant, as could his sparse production early in his career due to injuries.

Wharton took a look at the prediction of all the best players who could be eliminated in the NFL. For the Lions, Bryant was the player mentioned as potentially on the chopping block due to depth, as well as new players coming into the mix.

“The 25-year-old, who is likely an underdog due to the numbers game in Detroit, should spark interest from the defense, who need a power rusher in their prime,” Wharton wrote specifically.

Bryant could establish himself elsewhere if he gets cut, but he could also earn a role back in Detroit if he stays healthy and shows consistency. It seems that the team might be willing to give it a try based on early rumors from the OTA sessions.

Picked up in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, the Clemson pass-rusher was hyped as a possible hidden gem thanks to his production in college, but an injury helped him slip in the draft, and by the time he got to Detroit, he was getting fast injured again with an almost identical chest condition as at school. In the early years, he never saw the field and failed to show the Lions or their fans some of the immense talent that led to him posting some solid college stats. With the Tigers, Bryant had 130 tackles, 21 sacks, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles and 37 tackles for loss.

Even so, Bryant has only completed 25 total tackles in his tenure in the NFL coming this season, which is lower overall production than many would have predicted. In 2021, he went one better with 31 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Health played a role in his resurgence, which the tape highlighted as an opportunity:

Bryant is finally healthy and showing signs of his old self. Will depth hurt him in the coming year, or can he secure a role for 2022 in Detroit? There doesn’t seem to be many solid answers to these questions at the moment, meaning it will be important to keep an eye on for the remainder of the off-season.

CONTINUE READING: NFLPA identifies pair of young lions as ‘Rising Stars’

Even so, Bryant has only completed 25 total tackles in his tenure in the NFL coming this season, which is lower overall production than many would have predicted. In 2021, he went one better with 31 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Health played a role in his resurgence, which the tape highlighted as an opportunity:



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