Trey Flowers was the Lions' biggest acquisition in free agency. And, he might be one of the best of the entire NFL offseason.
That's according to Gil Brandt, a former NFL executive who is a senior analyst for NFL.com. The former Dallas Cowboys vice president of player personnel ranked Flowers third among his top 10 free-agency signings in a story posted Wednesday.
Flowers, 25, signed a five-year $90 million deal in March, essentially replacing former Lions' first-round draft pick Ziggy Ansah, who struggled with consistency and durability issues in his six seasons in Detroit before signing with the Seattle Seahawks this offseason.
Flowers was a fourth-round draft pick in 2015 by the New England Patriots, where he spent his first four seasons, registering 21 sacks from 2016-2018.
"As the highest-paid free agent of the offseason (in terms of total value of the contract)," Brandt writes, "Flowers is expected to be the Lions' most impactful pass rusher since Robert Porcher, who collected a franchise-high 95.5 sacks between 1992 and 2003. Although he has yet to top 7.5 sacks in any individual campaign, Flowers led the Patriots in the category in each of the past three seasons, and he's stout against the run."
Flowers is expected to bolster a pass rush that generally struggled last season, despite 43 sacks. The defense generated pressure on just 26.3 percent of passing downs, according to Football Outsiders, good for 29th in the league. He'll be reunited with Lions' head coach Matt Patricia, his former defensive coordinator in New England.
"(Patricia) will best know how to utilize Flowers' skill set," Brandt writes.
Flowers opened training camp this week on the physically unable to perform list, likely as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.
Former Michigan State running back Le'Veon Bell is ranked No. 2 on Brandt's list after signing with the New York Jets after six seasons in Pittsburgh.