Can Lions DT Levi Onwuzurike Turn His Solid Spring into Regular Season Success?

Levi Onwuzurike’s Promising Spring and Offseason Development

Detroit Lions defensive end Levi Onwuzurike has shown significant progress during the NFL team’s spring training after a challenging start to his career marred by injuries. The former second-round pick in 2021 is back on the field, fully healthy, and has reportedly added considerable bulk, upping his weight from 285 to 300 pounds.

Recovered and Ready

Onwuzurike’s career has been hindered by persistent back issues, which notably sidelined him for the entire 2022 season and limited his playtime last year. Now healed, he feels more robust and integrated, which may allow him to leverage his full potential in the Lions’ defensive setup. Speaking about his recovery, Onwuzurike mentioned, “Yeah, it limits you. Your back separates your lower body and upper body. So the best way I can explain it is now everything’s moving together as one. Speed to power, my whole body feels like all one, all together.”

Head coach Dan Campbell has cautiously expressed optimism regarding Onwuzurike’s performance, saying, “Levi is having a really good spring. He’s continued to rehab, he’s continued to train his body, he’s put on weight because his back can handle it now.”

Levi Onwuzurike

Defensive Adjustments and Versatility

Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn are experimenting with various alignments to optimize their defensive strategies. Onwuzurike’s ability to adapt to multiple positions could be crucial, especially as he approaches the final year of his rookie contract in 2024. His flexibility on the line could prove invaluable on game days, offering the Lions more options defensively.

Campbell highlighted the importance of this adaptability, “The more flexibility we have up front, that helps us on game day… Put him outside on the big end on some things. And so the more we can do with those, they just allow you to bring one less if you need to up front because those guys can do multiple jobs.”

Levi Onwuzurike is set on maximizing this opportunity, understanding the significance of being versatile. He stated, “The more you can play, the more spots you can play, the more you’ll get out there. And I played it in high school, so I’ve kind of got it in my rewind my system.”

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Written by Nathan Webb

Bleeding whiskey and maple syrup, Nathan is an avid Red Wings fan who fills his lack of interest for other sports with even more hockey. Born and raised in Warren, MI, he's been in the thick of Red Wings culture since day one, and views the game from an analytical and objective standpoint. (@TheSarcastrophe)

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