Although the Detroit Lions‘ defense demonstrated significant improvement throughout the 2022 season, there is no question about it that they have a long way to go before they can be considered a formidable unit. While the Lions' interior defensive line group has improved, there is no denying that they need to make further additions. Fortunately, the upcoming free agency period provides an opportunity to enhance the team's defensive depth. Here are three interior defensive linemen that Detroit should consider signing in free agency.
Detroit Lions free agency: 3 DL to Bolster the Defense
Here are three free agents IDL the Lions should consider signing to solidify their defensive line.
Dalvin Tomlinson – Minnesota Vikings
Tomlinson has been moved around on the interior and has played more as a three-technique with Minnesota. Tomlinson has a solid record of never missing more than five tackles in a season, and his 83.0 run-defense grade since 2017 places him among the top 16 players at his position. Although Tomlinson missed several weeks of play due to injury (Weeks 9-12), he achieved a career-best 79.1 pass-rush grade and maintained an overall grade above 74.0 for the sixth consecutive season. Tomlinson could be a good addition to the Detroit Lions' defensive line.
Zach Allen – Arizona Cardinals
Looking at it from a Detroit Lions perspective, Allen has made significant strides in his career, having benefitted from mentorship by the future first-ballot Hall of Famer J.J. Watt early on. In 2022, he experienced a significant improvement, achieving his first run-defense grade above 60.0 and first pass-rush grade above 70.0. He recorded a career-high 35 quarterback pressures and a pressure rate of 8.3%.
Sheldon Rankins – New York Jets
After his rookie contract expired in New Orleans, Rankins signed a two-year deal with the Jets. He had a strong start to the 2022 season before briefly being sidelined due to an injury. However, he returned and ended the season as a key player in the Jets' strong defensive front. With an overall grade of 73.1, Rankins achieved the second-best mark of his career, and his 33 tackles were a new high watermark. He represents a solid target in the offseason as an affordable option at interior defender, especially with the top of the market set to experience significant growth.