A Look At The Detroit Lions Signing Of 2018 UDFA Josh Fatu
The Detroit Lions have had a mentality of adding players with toughness to the interior of their offensive and defensive lines in the 2018 off-season. New Lions head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn both spoke to this during their draft press conferences, when talking about players like 1st round pick Frank Ragnow, 2nd rounder Kerryon Johnson, and 5th rounder Tyrell Crosby. The Lions have also done this through both the regular free agency and also in rookie free agency with the signing of players like defensive tackle Josh Fatu, from USC.
One of the Lions biggest needs heading into this off-season was on the interior of their defensive line. Quinn talked about how he was upset with how “soft” they played in 3rd and short and 4th and short situations. Fatu did not produce much while at USC, but he was anything but soft. He played more of the 1′, as a strong interior anchor of the line that typically ate up multiple blockers to free his teammates. At 6’2, 310 lbs, he has the prototypical size to anchor the interior defensive line in the NFL.
Fatu’s Development Going Into Training Camp
Fatu is quite raw, however, this is typical with UDFAs. If you go undrafted in the NFL you usually have some flaw in your game. The positive note for Fatu is that his lack of technical skill could largely be due to lack of experience and not ability. While he did finish his collegiate career at a big school in the shape of USC, he spent his first two seasons at Long Beach City College.
It is likely Fatu’s development has been held back by only having two years max of big school coaching technique. This is a positive for him as it means there could be some untapped potential in the defensive tackle, especially considering his natural strength and balance. Fatu definitely has a long road ahead of him to even make the practice squad, but he does have the potential to be on an NFL roster someday if he can clean up his hand usage and technique.