How Larry Webster Fits with Detroit Lions

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How Larry Webster Fits with Detroit Lions
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

After starting out with offense, the Detroit Lions have put together a defense-dominated draft. That trend continued with the pick of defensive end Larry Webster in the fourth round.

General manager Martin Mayhew and president Tom Lewand have put a lot of focus on the defensive line since they took control of the team. There have been projects in the past, but Webster might be the most developmental player they have ever taken.

Yes, I'm including Ziggy Ansah in that assessment. Ansah was able to produce as a starter in Week 1. Webster will be lucky if he can contribute at the end of a rotation at any point next season.

That's the short of it. Now, let's get to the long of it. 

 

The Basics

Many of you are unlikely to know much about Webster. Unless you're a Bloomsburg alumnus or an NFL draft junkie with a serious problem, you probably don't even know that he's over 6'5" tall and weighs 252 pounds. 

You would also be forgiven if you weren't aware of his athletic prowess. He played on the Bloomsburg basketball team, tore apart the combine and was even asked to catch some passes at his pro day because many think he would work well as a tight end

But take a closer look at those combine numbers and you'll find the reason Detroit felt they couldn't wait any longer (like I thought they should have) to draft Webster. 

Combine Results
Player 40-Yard Dash Vertical Jump Broad Jump 3-Cone Drill
Jadeveon Clowney 4.53 37.5" 124" 7.27
Larry Webster 4.58 36.5" 123" 7.29

www.NFL.com

Apparently, posting raw numbers that are comparable to the first overall pick that is considered a physical freak is a good thing. But don't put the cart before the horse. 

 

So What Happens Now?

Now that you've seen why Webster was drafted, it's time to scale back that excitement and accept the reality that Webster won't be bookending the line with Ziggy anytime soon. While his numbers were close to Clowney's, don't lose sight of the fact that Clowney is 14 pounds heavier. 

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The first thing Webster will do in Detroit is eat copious amounts of peanut butter flavored with chocolate protein powder on top of doughnuts while lifting weights. Then he'll need to get in the tape room and start working with defensive line coaches Kris Kocurek and Jim Washburn. 

Washburn and Kocurek have a great track record of developing talent. It's true they have a great athletic foundation with Webster, but they have a lot of work to do before Webster will crack the rotation.

So enjoy the idea that Webster could become a devastating defensive end, but temper those expectations with patience. The only time you'll see Webster on the field is in the preseason and maybe, if he's lucky, on special teams.

 

Brandon Alisoglu is a Detroit Lions featured columnist who has written about the Lions on multiple sites. He also co-hosts a Lions-centric podcast, Lions Central Radio. Yell at him on Twitter about how wrong he is @BrandonAlisoglu.

All combine stats are courtesy of NFL.com

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