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The Detroit Lions had a busy day today. The team signed free agency defensive lineman DJ Reader on Thursday after he met with them, according to several sources, after the signing of head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes to contract extensions. According to reports, the agreement has a two-year maximum value of $27.25 million and a guarantee of over $9 million.

The Lions’ most significant free agency signing to date is this one. The club needed some assistance on the defensive line, and general manager Brad Holmes acquired one of the greatest interior defensive lineman available. Holmes usually avoids making big-name acquisitions in free agency.

See how Reader will affect the Detroit Lions in 2024, how it could alter their approach to the early draft, and my assessment of the signing.
DJ Reader: How good is he.

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Reader is mainly a nose tackle, which is something the Lions have been lacking on their roster. He is not simply a defensive lineman. Although the outcomes of their attempts to place people in comparable roles were satisfactory, they need an improvement. When the Lions defense is on the field, someone has to really provide pressure to the opposing offensive line. Reader has recorded 277 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, nine and a half sacks, eight deflections of passes, three recoveries of fumbles, and one forced fumble in his career.

Reader’s injury history was his biggest drawback; although he missed very few games with the Houston Texans from 2016 to 2019, his tenure with the Cincinnati Bengals wasn’t as fortunate. He suffered a torn left quad in Week 5 of 2020, which caused him to miss the last 12 games of the season. However, he came back in 2021, missing just one game (a veteran’s rest game) and playing the entire season without an injury. Reader was out for just six games in 2022 after suffering a knee injury. Reader’s season ended last season after he tore his right quad in Week 15.

Three weeks after the operation, the reader said “In the early going, it feels much better.” The last time he stated that it would take him six months to recover, but following surgery, he was jogging in approximately four months and felt “amazing” around nine months.”
For the Lions, what does this mean?

This is a huge aid to the defensive line. In addition to defensive lineman Alim McNeil, who can assist put some pressure on the quarterback, they also acquire an inside rusher who, more significantly, can help stop the run. Last season, the Lions had the second-fewest running yards allowed and the third-lowest yards per carry (3.7) demonstrating their ability to stop the run.

Reader’s ability to disrupt the play with his power and bulk is his greatest asset. With Reader on the field, defensive end Aidan Hutchinson’s days of being double-teamed are over. As an opposition offensive player, you will suffer if you allow him the opportunity to be a free rusher because he will be too tough to contain in a one-on-one situation.

The Lions can also benefit from Reader’s selection approach. We know that Holmes doesn’t always select players based on necessity; in fact, the Lions have benefited greatly by his selection of players in positions that weren’t needed in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

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