A Look At Ricky Jean-Francois As A Potential Signing By The Detroit Lions In The 2018 Off-Season
One of the biggest needs the Detroit Lions possessed heading into the 2018 off-season was at their interior defensive line position. In the first round of free agency, the Lions signed nose tackle Sylvester Williams. They also drafted Alabama defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand, after trading next year’s 3rd round pick to move up into the 4th round to take him. The Williams signing helps fill the hole left at nose tackle and Hand helps fill the void at the 3′ or 5′. However, the Lions may not be done adding depth to either position this off-season and could do so by signing former New England Patriots defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois.
Why The Lions Are Likely To Add Ricky Jean-Francois
The first point here is the New England Patriots connection. With both general manager Bob Quinn and new head coach Matt Patricia being from the Patriots front-office, the philosophy and scheme fit are there. They have made a point of adding toughness and tenacity to the trenches this off-season and Jean-Francois would be right at home in that regard. While his strength is not overwhelming, his hands are really violent. His slap and rip move stands out on film. A majority of his pass rush ability has come from this or when he counters with a spin move.
While his sack production has not been jaw-dropping by any means, that will not be necessary for how Patricia uses his linemen typically. He has been known for his ability to scheme sack production, even when he lacks the elite talent to do so. Last year, the Patriots were 7th in sack totals, despite having one of the league’s worst units. The team leader was Trey Flowers with merely 6.5 sacks in total. However, 15 different defenders registered a sack for the Patriots in 2017.
When looking at what Jean-Francios could add to this Lions team, being a contributing member of the revamp of their pass rush would be a great place to start. The Lions pass rush in 2017 was one of the league’s worst and they definitely need to improve in this area to be a contender in the 2018 season. While his pass rushing ability is known, he is also solid as a run defender. And with one of the best abilities to possess in the NFL being availability, he only becomes more valuable. In the past four seasons, he has only missed four games in total.
in 2017, the Lions were decimated by injury on the defensive line. Adding a depth rotational pass rusher like Jean-Francois is the type of move the Lions can make to ensure that the team and fans do not see a repeat of that in 2018.