Okwara is preparing to play outside linebacker, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports.
Accounting for 10 of the Lions' 24 sacks in 2020, Okwara was one of the lone Lions players to be statistically productive in Matt Patricia's ineffective defensive scheme. However, since Detroit's team total ranked 26th in the league, new defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn is shaking things up. While Okwara will continue to rush the passer in a traditional defensive end role on passing downs, per Kyle Meinke of MLive.com, Okwara will have added responsibilities in pass coverage in Detroit's base defense. This could mean less pass-rushing snaps for him overall, but an improved defensive scheme could help the 25-year-old make up for it.
Okwara is signing a three-year, $39 million contract to stay with the Lions, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
The Lions have the unique advantage of offering Okwara the opportunity to stay with his brother, 23-year-old defensive end Julian. The elder Okwara has only 20 career sacks, but half of those sacks came last season when he finished as PFF's 39th-ranked edge defender (out of 109 qualified players). He'll turn 26 in June, with he and Trey Flowers projecting as the team's top defensive ends. It isn't clear if new defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn will run a 3-4 or 4-3 base, but any setup should entail plenty of pass-rush snaps for Okwara and Flowers.
The Lions chose not to use their franchise tag on Okwara ahead of Tuesday's deadline, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Okwara is coming off the first double-digit sack season of his career. In addition to logging 10 sacks in 2020, he recorded 44 tackles (32 solo), one pass breakup, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery across 16 appearances. Given the abundance of teams in need of pass-rushing help heading into 2021, Okwara looks primed to earn a sizable contract on the open market.
Okwara recorded 44 tackles, 10 sacks, one pass breakup and three forced fumbles in 2020.
After logging a lowly 1.5 sacks in 2019, Okwara provided plenty of reason to believe his breakout 2018 campaign (7.5 sacks) was no fluke. The Notre Dame product was one of 10 players to notch double-digit sacks in 2020 and he accomplished the feat with very little help around him as the Lions finished near last in the league in most defensive categories, including yards allowed (32nd) and points allowed (32nd). Now an unrestricted free agent, the 25-year-old pass-rusher seems poised for a nice payday this offseason.
Okwara recorded two solo tackles, including a sack, and a forced fumble in Saturday's 47-7 loss to the Buccaneers.
Okwara leads the Lions with nine sacks, and he's tied for 11th in the league in the category. The 25-year-old defensive end could hit double digits in the season finale against the Vikings. Kirk Cousins has been sacked on 7.0 percent of dropbacks this year.
Okwara posted four solo tackles, a sack and a forced fumble in Sunday's 24-20 win over the Bears.
Okwara posted a career-high 7.5 sacks in 2018 before enduring a severe decline in the pass-rushing department last year, notching just 1.5 sacks through 14 games. The Notre Dame product is back on track in 2020, as he has rung up seven sacks through 12 games, leading the team in the category by a wide margin.
Okwara registered four total tackles, including one sack, during the Lions' 30-27 win against Washington on Sunday.
The Notre Dame standout continues to find ways to disrupt the passer, now having recorded five sacks and 11 QB hits since Week 4. Okwara has three times as many sacks on the season as Detroit's No. 2 leading pass-rusher, Trey Flowers, with a Week 11 matchup against the Panthers approaching. An MRI on Carolina QB Teddy Bridgewater's knee revealed an MCL sprain after he was forced to exit Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay, setting up his potential absence against Detroit. Bridgewater has seemingly avoided major injury, but if he's unable to go Week 11, Okwara would have an opportunity to tee off on backup P.J. Walker.
Okwara collected six tackles and one sack during Sunday's 41-21 loss to Indianapolis.
Okwara finished behind only Tracy Walker and Jamie Collins for the team lead in tackles, while a sack provides the former Giant with his third over the past two weeks. He's averaged 41.4 defensive snaps per game with one start, already amassing five sacks by the midway point of the year.
Okwara recorded three solo tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in Sunday's 23-22 win over the Falcons.
Okwara continues to make key plays for the Lions, as he strip-sacked Matt Ryan last in the fourth quarter, setting up a go-ahead field goal for the Lions just a couple of minutes later. The Notre Dame product now has four sacks and 10 quarterback pressures this season, and he's handled at least 50 percent of the defensive workload in five straight games. He'll look to keep it rolling Week 8 against the Colts, but he'll have a tougher matchup because Philip Rivers has been sacked on just 2.5 percent of dropbacks.
Okwara logged three tackles and a sack in Sunday's loss against New Orleans.
Okwara now has a sack in each of his last two contests. He recorded just 1.5 sacks a season ago in 14 contests, so he's off to a promising start so far in 2020.
The Lions activated Okwara (undisclosed) from the reserve/non-football injury list Friday, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com reports.
It's unclear what was holding Okwara back, but he's back to full health heading into his fifth NFL season. The 25-year-old Okwara is in a contract year and should have ample opportunity to prove his worth after serving as a starter last year, but he'll face competition from his brother Julian, who the Lions drafted in the third round in April.
The Lions placed Okwara (undisclosed) on the reserve/non-football injury list Sunday, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.
Okwara will need to gain full clearance from his undisclosed injury before joining teammates at practice. The 25-year-old stands to reprise his role as a starting defensive end for Detroit when healthy.
Okwara recorded 28 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble over 14 games in 2019.
Okwara led the Lions in sacks in 2018, but he wasn't even close this year despite playing with better talent around him. It's not easy to point to one reason for his struggles in 2019, but playing time definitely wasn't the issue considering Okwara regularly commanded at least half of the available defensive snaps most weeks during the season. It's possible that 2018 was simply an outlier year for the Notre Dame product, and Okwara has a chance to redeem himself in 2020, the final year of his current deal.
Okwara (groin) is inactive for Sunday's game against the Cowboys.
Okwara will sit out a second straight game, but it's a positive sign that the 24-year-old was able to practice in a limited capacity Thursday and Friday. The fourth-year pro has 12 tackles and 0.5 sacks this year, and he'll look to shake the issue before Week 12's matchup against the Redskins.
Okwara (groin) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Bears.
Okwara has been unable to log any practice reps this week, giving his Sunday status a discouraging outlook. Should the pass rusher not be able to suit up, Da'Shawn Hand figures to see a starter's share of snaps at defensive end.
Okwara notched two assisted tackles during Sunday's 13-10 win over the Chargers.
Okwara was held without a tackle Week 1, but he wasn't kept off the stat sheet for long. The 24-year-old's lack of consistent weekly tackles makes him a sack-dependent option in IDP formats, and Okwara faces a touch matchup against Philadelphia's stout offensive line Week 3.
Okwara signed a two-year contract extension with the Lions on Friday, Kyle Meinke of MLive.com reports.
The 23-year-old was outstanding for the Lions last season, racking up 39 tackles (28 solo), seven sacks and one forced fumble in 15 games. Per NFL Network, Okwara's deal will average more than $3.095 million and has incentives built in. The Notre Dame product will likely be a focal point in the defense, as Detroit figures out what it wants to do with fellow defensive end Ezekiel Ansah.
Okwara registered one tackle and one quarterback hit during Sunday's victory over the Packers.
Okwara thus ends his breakout season on a low note, statistically speaking, but he nonetheless finishes 2018 with 39 tackles and a team-leading 7.5 sacks to his name. The third-year edge rusher is extremely likely to return to Detroit in 2018 given his impending restricted free agent status, which is great news for a Lions team that may not be able to give into the contract demands of injury-prone defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder). As a projected full-time starter alongside run-stuffing nose tackle Damon Harrison, Okwara looks to have some upside in many IDP formats in 2019.
Okwara recorded one sack during Sunday's 27-9 loss to Minnesota.
Okwara is now up to 7.5 sacks on the season, passing teammate Devon Kennard for the Lions' team lead in that category along the way. However, the breakout Notre Dame product is only averaging 2.7 tackles per game this year and is reliant on getting to the quarterback to have a worthwhile fantasy outing.
Okwara recorded three tackles and one sack during Sunday's victory over Arizona.
Okwara continues to impress and is now up to 6.5 sacks on the season. His emergence has been great news for a Lions team that is now without injury-prone defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder). However, Okwara has recorded more than four tackles in just two of 13 games this season and is hard to trust as an IDP asset.
|Sun 09/13||vs CHI||L 23-27||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Sun 09/20||@ GB||L 21-42||3||1||4||0||0||0||0||0|
|Sun 09/27||@ ARI||W 26-23||2||0||2||1||0||0||0||0|
|Sun 10/04||vs NO||L 29-35||3||0||3||1||0||0||0||0|
|Sun 10/25||@ ATL||W 23-22||3||0||3||2||0||0||1||0|
|Sun 11/01||vs IND||L 21-41||5||1||6||1||0||0||0||0|
|Sun 11/08||@ MIN||L 20-34||1||2||3||0||0||1||0||0|
|Sun 11/15||vs WAS||W 30-27||2||2||4||1||0||0||0||0|
|Sun 11/22||@ CAR||L 0-20||0||2||2||0||0||0||0||0|
|Thu 11/26||vs HOU||L 25-41||0||2||2||0||0||0||0||0|
|Sun 12/06||@ CHI||W 34-30||4||0||4||1||0||0||1||0|
|Sun 12/13||vs GB||L 24-31||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Sun 12/20||@ TEN||L 25-46||4||0||4||1||0||0||0||1|
|Sat 12/26||vs TB||L 7-47||2||0||2||1||0||0||1||0|
|Sun 01/03||vs MIN||L 35-37||1||0||1||1||0||0||0||0|
|Career Defensive Stats|