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Lawrence Jackson is starting to become one of Detroit Lions fans favorite players thanks to Twitter. Around the league, it's hard to find evidence that anyone else realizes he's still around.
Often, Cliff Avril has been referred to as the "forgotten" Lions defensive linemen; but with a big long-term contract likely pending for Avril, Jackson is an important name this offseason.
Considered a "bust" in Seattle, Jackson faced both insult and injury as his college coach—Pete Carroll—deemed a 6th round pick more useful than keeping him around.
That trade paid dividends for the Lions as Jackson stepped in for the injured Kyle Vanden Bosch and performed far better than any realistic expectations. In fact, Jackson performed about as well as many people thought he would when he was drafted 28th overall in 2008.
His 34 tackles and six sacks in 2010 were both career highs and Pro Football Focus listed him as the second most effective Lions defender (after Avril.)
Avril should be re-signed at all costs and Vanden Bosch (hopefully) has three or four good years left, but Jackson has earned a long-term spot on the Lions roster that has put so much emphasis on the defensive line.
He also earned the right to be overlooked a lot less than he has been thus far in his three year career and publicity from his play on the field as much as his tweets off of it.
Michael Schottey is an on-call editor for the Bleacher Report College Writing Internship, as well as an NFL Featured Columnist and an NFL Labor/Draft Expert. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, he has professionally covered the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions, as well as NFL events like the Scouting Combine and the Senior Bowl. Follow him on Twitter.