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Detroit Lions trade for 49ers linebacker Eli Harold It’s been no secret that the Detroit Lions’ front seven is the biggest weakness on the roster http://www.detroitlionsteamonline.com/sam-martin-jersey , and finally with just two weeks left until the regular season, general manager Bob Quinn is doing something about it. The Lions are reportedly trading for San Francisco 49ers linebacker Eli Harold, per MLive’s Kyle Meinke. Harold is a 2015 third-round pick (interestingly picked directly before the Lions took cornerback Alex Carter) who has bounced between outside linebacker in a 3-4 system and SAM linebacker in a 4-3 look. Harold hasn’t missed a game since entering the league and has amassed 85 tackles and 5.0 sacks in 24 total starts. That kind of versatility is exactly what head coach Matt Patricia is looking for at the linebacker position. While Harold isn’t exactly a dominant pass rusher, he’s a solid run defender, earning a run defense grade of 62.4 from Pro Football Focus (56.6 overall).Having lost Steve Longa to a torn ACL injury Authentic Ziggy Ansah Jersey , the Lions were in need of some solid linebacker depth. Harold may not be a starter right away, but he should compete with the likes of Christian Jones and Jonathan Freeny for some playing time this year. He will almost certainly see some work on the edge in the defensive rotation, similar to a role that Devon Kennard currently holds. It’s worth noting that Harold did suffer a minor knee injury in the preseason opener, but it wasn’t considered serious, and he ended up playing in last week’s game against the Texans. Harold is on the last year in his rookie deal Womens Michael Roberts Jersey , which will cost the Lions’ $1.9 million in cap space. If he works out in Detroit, the Lions could obviously extend him next offseason. If not, the Lions aren’t on the hook beyond 2018. The Lions are reportedly sending a conditional 2020 seventh-round pick in return. Update: The Lions have now confirmed the trade and have announced that they have waived defensive tackle JoJo Wicker to make room on the roster. Update #2: ESPN’s Adam Schefter has an update on the conditions that must be met for the trade:Breaking down the Detroit Lions’ running back usage through 2 games The new and improved Detroit Lions run game was the most intriguing thing to watch for entering the new 2018 season. The additions of LeGarrette Blount and Kerryon Johnson were supposed to reinvigorate a miserable running game. We have now seen two games of the new running game at work and today we will take a look at how the Lions have distributed their carries between their running backs, and where on the field the backs have had the most success. Carry DistributionAmeer Abdullah has been inactive for the first two games of the season, meaning that carries are being shared by Johnson Womens LeGarrette Blount Jersey , Blount and Theo Riddick. Blount has been the listed starter for both of the Lions opening games. Due to an injury in the first game and ejection in the second, it was Johnson that took on the most carries in the latter stages of both games. Riddick seems to have been pigeonholed into his receiver role and is getting limited carries. Johnson and Blount have almost equal carries on the season with 13 and 12 respectively. While Johnson has almost equal touches to Blount he has done a lot more with the opportunities he’s been given.Johnson has 60 yards on the season, towering over the yardage totals of his two teammates. While none out of the group have even eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the season, the rookie is showing early signs that he may be able to succeed. Four yards per carry seems to be the minimum that any running back needs to be considered a viable contributor and Johnson has reached that mark so far. The rookie has been much more efficient than Blount. While a lot of this probably feeds more into his style of play compared to Blount (we will get to this later) Johnson’s efficient numbers to start out make him look like a huge upgrade from Abdullah last season.LeGarrette BlountDetroit brought in Blount to be a power runner that would help them out on short third and fourth downs. While he hasn’t been put to use much in goal line situations just yet—as the Lions haven’t had any—he has already shown off his great power running style between the tackles. Over half of his carries have been straight up the middle so far.Blount also rarely ever stretches defenses. It seems like the Lions will want to use him as a pure power back between the tackles.It is hard to judge Blount so far. His two games were night and day, as the Lions run blocking was awful in Week 1 against the Jets but he had adequate space in Week 2 against the 49ers. He has been inefficient running right up the gut and to his left so far and his incredibly high YPC to the right is a matter of small sample size.The running back’s style and usage sets him up to be relatively inefficient. While the Lions obviously want a running back set to get around 40 percent of the team’s carries to hit that 4.0 mark http://www.detroitlionsteamonline.com/matt-prater-jersey , they may be fine if Johnson lives up to expectations. Kerryon JohnsonThe Lions seem to be easing the rookie into the action so far. While Johnson leads the team in carries at the moment, they seem to have only been in replacement of Blount when he has to leave the game due to an unforeseen circumstance. Johnson got garbage time action against the Jets and was a huge part of the Lions almost-comeback against the 49ers. Detroit is using Johnson as a complement to Blount. While Blount gets a majority of his carries between the tackles Johnson does a majority of his work on the outside. Johnson does a lot of zone running to the edge where his burst and vision get put to use. They use him to stretch defenses attack teams on the edge. He has been very efficient on stretch runs so far and that should make Detroit excited for what he can do the rest of the season.While he has not gotten enough carries to truly stand out yet, Johnson has been the best back of the bunch. If you add in his ability as a pass catcher and blocker he is the most dynamic running back on the roster. It Is very realistic to imagine that Johnson could be taking all of the first and second down snaps from Blount by the end of the season. Going forward it is likely that Johnson sees more carries on a week-to-week basis before he takes over as a full-time starter. If everyone stays healthy it does not look like either Riddick or Abdullah will siphon off a large portion of carries anytime soon and Detroit may want to keep Blount fresh for goal-line opportunities. The issues the Lions have had in the run game are still far from fixed but at least they have taken a step in the right direction this season—something you can’t say about the rest of the team.
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