When teams change head coaches and General Managers, there are usually players cut loose because they no longer fit the franchise’s direction.
The Lions did a fair amount of that this offseason, but they have held onto linebacker Jahlani Tavai this offseason. The 2019 second-round pick wasn’t a fixture in the lineup under the previous regime as he started 16 of the 31 games he’s played in Detroit and he hasn’t set the world on fire when he’s been in the lineup, but linebackers coach Mark DeLeone sounds pretty fond of Tavai.
“I tell you what, I’ve been really impressed with Jahlani,” DeLeone said, via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. “He’s been here, he’s been doing a great job. He’s in really good shape right now. I’m excited to work with him. I’m excited for us to get to OTAs and be able to continue with him because I’m really excited about him.”
DeLeone called Tavai “a nice piece for us to work within this scheme,” but how that piece will fit isn’t totally clear. The Lions are moving to a 3-4, but they have Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Alex Anzalone, and fourth-round pick Derrick Barnes to go with edge players Trey Flowers and Romeo Okwara. Tavai will have to continue to impress the coaches to carve out a bigger role under new management.