A change in body composition must mean something, right? What do the Detroit Lions have in store for their leading sack artist, Romeo Okwara?
Whoever thought Romeo Okwara would lead the Detroit Lions in sacks through 15 games, good on you. To be exact, 7.5 sacks. From released to unleashed, the ex-New York Giants defensive end has really turned a corner in 2018. Before arriving to Detroit, he had only one sack to his name.
Why Okwara was cut made sense. He isn’t an ideal edge rusher for the NFL. To survive on the edge, speed and quickness are important traits. Although his length, size and power are favorable to play there, it’s not the best fit for him.
As a former defender for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, his experience in a 3-4 defense has helped tremendously. From a college linebacker, to a professional defensive lineman, his transition has looked good.
Lacking the bend and change of directions skills to stand up and rush the passer consistently doesn’t mean he’s out of luck. With a hand or two in the dirt, things have worked out great, especially inside.
Okwara has found more success rushing against guards than tackles. His ability to create pressure and the mismatch problems he brings to the interior is obvious. Holding up against the run is a must on the inside and he can do just that. His grip strength is impressive too. So does this mean he makes the move to defensive tackle?
When senior writer Tim Twentyman from DetroitLions.com spoke with defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni regarding Okwara, he mentioned his growth in the system and expects to see more moving forward. Additionally, continuing to bulk up and add muscle was a point of emphasis. This points directly to a position change.
Already at 274 pounds, he’s an ideal 4-3 defensive end but slightly overweight to predominately play 3-4 outside linebacker in this system. He too is slightly undersized to handle being a 3-4 defensive end/4-3 defensive tackle full-time. By putting on a little more weight (10-15 pounds), Okwara should fit even nicer as an interior pass rusher.
This kind of athleticism will really help the Detroit Lions create havoc in a variety of ways. I’m excited to see how things shake out. All in favor say aye.