When the Detroit Lions selected EDGE Austin Bryant in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the hope was that he would develop into a rotational player who could put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Unfortunately, Bryant, who played his college ball at Clemson, has dealt with injuries throughout his NFL career.
But Bryant, who is in a contract year, has been playing very well during training camp and it has translated on the field during the Lions' first two preseason games.
Detroit Lions EDGE Austin Bryant is coming on strong with his ‘pterodactyl-length' arms
In an article recently published in The Athletic, Nate Tice takes a look at some of the emerging talents so far in the preseason, and Detroit Lions EDGE Austin Bryant was one of the players mentioned.
Tice notes that Bryant was a contributor for the Lions in 2021 and that he is looking like a player who is capable of getting even more snaps in 2022.
From The Athletic:
Bryant’s career has been riddled with injuries — he’s played only 24 out of a possible 49 games since entering the league and, on his Pro Football Reference page, has more injury transactions (7) listed than career starts (6).
But Bryant put together a relatively healthy and productive 2021 season on a deeply rebuilding Lions team, chalking up 12 pressures, 4.5 sacks and four run stuffs (tackles at the line of scrimmage) in 14 games. Nothing eye-popping, but he contributed.
This preseason, Bryant has looked like a player capable of eating more snaps:
The main thing that pops with Bryant is his pterodactyl-like length. His arms measured 34 5/8 inches at the NFL combine in 2019 — those limbs waving every which way during game action will draw your attention. And while he is not the most bendy of players, Bryant has play strength, a good motor and enough athleticism to give issues to offensive tackles who are unable to gain leverage on him.
In a contract year, Bryant could benefit from seeing more consistent opportunities as a role player. He might get those valuable snaps for the Lions, too, because he’s a different type of defender behind the highly-drafted Aidan Hutchinson and the recently extended Charles Harris.
Nation, are you excited about Austin Bryant in 2022?