Caraun Reid showed some promise in 2015, but with Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker becoming free agents in March, the Lions likely need to find reinforcement at defensive tackle this offseason.
If they look for long-term help in the draft, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said there should be plenty of options because he thinks there will be “outstanding” tackles through the third or fourth round.
Many of those upcoming draft picks were participating in the Senior Bowl this week, giving Lions scouts a chance to see them perform against some of the top offensive linemen in the country in Mobile, Ala.
“This is the best group of defensive tackles I’ve seen at this game in 10 years,” Mayock said. “Both teams have first-round picks on it.”
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein lists 14 defensive tackles in his top 100 players for May’s draft, and seven of them participated during Senior Bowl practices this week, though Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins won’t play in the game Saturday due to injury.
Rankins, Alabama’s Jarran Reed, Louisiana Tech’s Vernon Butler and Penn State’s Austin Johnson were among the biggest stars out of the impressive defensive tackle group.
“For the most part, everybody really stands out,” said Rankins, who had a formal interview with the Lions. “I think the talent all around is real good.”
Reed said he felt at home in the Senior Bowl coming from a loaded defensive front at Alabama. Teammate A’Shawn Robinson, a junior who entered the draft, is a likely first-rounder, too.
The 6-foot-3, 311-pound Reed had 57 tackles, 4.5 for loss and one sack in 2015 and said he’d feel comfortable in the Lions’ attack-first scheme up front.
“I feel great attacking to get home quick,” he said. “That would feel real good.”