Allen Park — In his first year with the Detroit Lions, Devon Kennard had his best professional season.
Looking to make another jump in his production, he’s spent the offseason studying some of the best players at his position, looking to add a few tricks to his repertoire.
Kennard gathered tape on a number of top edge rushers, including Demarcus Lawrence, Khalil Mack, Frank Clark and Von Miller in his search for what makes each of those players great at what they do.
“The offseason is a unique time of year where I don’t have to worry about a game plan, or what’s (an opponent’s) favorite play, or how are they going to block you,” Kennard said. “It’s a time where you can take a step back and analyze, not only your game, but other players’ games that you respect and like. I kind of do that every offseason, but having a further understanding of how I’m used (in Detroit’s scheme) and what’s expected of me moving forward, I was able to kind of pinpoint guys that, pass rush-wise, I like. It was fun to watch.
“There’s some great pass rushers who did some good things last year, and seeing what they did and how they fit with what I do and how I can add it to my game for this year coming up is something I’m excited about.”
One of the players Kennard has studied more than most the past two years has been Trey Flowers. Given the Lions defense shares a foundation with the scheme run in New England, Kennard is plenty familiar with his new teammate and he’s eager to pick his brain.
“As soon as we signed him, I thought it was a great signing,” Kennard said. “I really respect him game, what he’s done, his versatility and how he impacts the game in a multitude of ways. I think it’s great. I’m excited getting a chance to meet him, be around him and all that and just pushing forward from here.”
Signed to a three-year deal as a free agent last offseason, Kennard appeared in 15 games, playing more than 90 percent of the defensive snaps in those contests. Being primarily used as an edge defender, he finished with a career-high seven sacks.