Position: Outside linebacker
Experience: Seventh season
View photos of outside linebacker Trey Flowers from Detroit Lions training camp practice.
Outlook: It may be Flowers' seventh season in the league, but there are a lot of aspects of this season that have to feel pretty new for him. He's got a new defensive coordinator, new scheme and he's learning a new position for the first time in his professional career.
For the last seven years Flowers has been a traditional hand-in-the-dirt defensive end coming off the edge. He's transitioned to a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker in Aaron Glenn's new scheme. While rushing the passer off the edge is still Flowers' main priority, he's up in a two-point stance more than he's ever been, and he'll also be asked to drop back in coverage and play in space at times.
Flowers played in just seven games last year due to injury. He had seven sacks in 15 games in his first season in Detroit in 2019. He gives the Lions a veteran presence coming off the edge, and Detroit missed his consistency last season. From 2016 to 2019, Flowers recorded sack seasons of 7.0, 6.5, 7.5, and 7.0.
Flowers has been the first-team rush outside linebacker since the first day of camp and he's been pretty consistent since Day 1. The Lions are hoping he can stay healthy and give them some rush prowess on the outside opposite Romeo Okwara along that defensive front.
Practice report: Flowers and left tackle Taylor Decker go against each other in a lot of reps during practice and it's good work for both players. They seem to really push one another.
Flowers is such a technician coming off the edge. He can affect the quarterback in a variety of ways. During an early team period, he had a really nice bull rush that knocked Decker back a few steps into the face of quarterback Jared Goff, who was able to get the pass off, but it definitely seemed to affect the timing on the play. A little bit later, Flowers had a nice swim move to get outside the tackle. The rush might have resulted in a sack had it been live on the quarterback.
Decker won his fair share of reps vs. Flowers Wednesday as well, and that's only going to make both players better as camp progresses.
One of the areas where Flowers is really working hard is playing in space when he's asked to drop off the line in coverage. The Lions are going to bring pressure from a lot of different areas, and there are times Flowers will drop and play in coverage. He's looked much more comfortable doing it the last week than he did in early spring.
Where Flowers really excels is he sets a nice edge in the run game on the left side. There were a couple times in practice where the running back was forced to cut it up and couldn't get outside because Flowers is really good using his hands to create space from the blocker and is able to maintain the edge.
Flowers is a key component of what Glenn wants to do upfront on defense, and he seems to really like the challenge of learning and playing this new role.
Quotable: "He's doing a good job," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said of Flowers' camp so far. "It is a little new for him. It's different, it is. There's things I'm asking him to do that he hasn't done. Here's the beauty of Trey, he's smart, he works his rear off, he's adaptable, and he's tough.
"To be able to play that outside defensive end, there's a little technique issue here, but he's going to overcome and he'll develop and grow and get into it. Some of the stuff where you're dropping at times, it's all new. Where he was from spring to now, it feels pretty good to watch him. He's only going to get better the more reps he takes at it."