Why Devon Kennard Could Be The “X” Factor For The Lions This Year

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A Look At What Devon Kennard Will Bring To The Detroit Lions’ Linebacker Corps

Devon Kennard was a free agency pickup for the Lions this offseason and one of the more expensive ones at that. There are some mixed opinions on how good he will be for the Lions and if he will be worth the $18.75 million over three years contract. In my opinion, he will become one of the studs on the defense even if the stats won’t show it.

Kennard’s Strength At Setting The Edge

One thing that Detroit lacked last year was a player who could reliably set the edge; this led to the defense being ranked 19th when it came to run yards allowed per game. This also contributes to the lack of sacks (ranked 20th) and pressures that Detroit managed to get on the QB – the opposition could run the ball efficiently against Detroit or the QB could sit in the pocket and pick his pass. However, what Devon Kennard will bring will deny opponents ability to run the ball fairly easily. He is exceptional when it comes to setting the edge as the majority of the time he will fill his lane and being such a secure tackler he will make sure that no extra yardage is picked up should they run his way. An example of him doing this well, along with his other traits, can be found here: 

Devon Kennard Will Give His Team Mates A Platform To Perform

Kennard’s proficiency at setting the edge and ability to get into the backfield well will open up Ziggy Ansah to play as he does best, one-on-one. Opponents won’t be able to account for Ansah as the only pass rush threat and double-team or chip him on most plays, as Kennard will also have to be accounted for as a strong presence in the front seven who can also offer a good option as a late blitzer.

He will also give Davis and the newly-signed Christian Jones exactly what they need to succeed. He will make plays flow toward them, giving them a chance to use their strongest assets of tackling. It did look like last year that Davis could fly into tackles too high or take bad angles but that was because running backs could pick their lanes and burst through them without a problem, whereas if they are forced up the middle his run-stuffing prowess will become even more noticeable.

Kennard Can Be A “Nasty” Player

Kennard has a bit of a mean streak, something teams love and the Lions currently lack. Remember against the Giants last season where Matt Stafford got poked in the eye during the game? That was Kennard. He hits hard, has a high motor and doesn’t give up on plays. He’ll be a great addition to a linebacker corps that needed some talent added to it to move upwards in the 2018 season.

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About the Author

Alex Watt
Alex is a Detroit Lions fan from the UK, his love for the Lions came about from the fact he loves an underdog story and he believes the Lions embody that pretty well! He has a particular love for the defensive side of the ball and he favourite player is Darius "Big Play" Slay, although he has a soft spot for Glover Quin. When he isn't writing for the DetroitLionsPodcast he enjoys gym and sports, playing American Football himself.