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TWENTYMAN: Trading for Harrison could improve Lions' run defense

The Detroit Lions' 30th ranked rushing defense just got a major boost.

The Lions have acquired defensive tackle Damon Harrison from the New York Giants via trade for an undisclosed draft pick. The trade became official Thursday morning.

Harrison, 29, is ranked fourth among all interior defensive linemen this year against the run by Pro Football Focus. He was the best run defender in the NFL last season, and has led all interior defenders in run stuffs in each of the last five seasons. He's currently second in that category this year.  

The 355-pound Harrison has been among the best interior defensive linemen against the run since entering the league in 2012 with the New York Jets. He has 31 tackles in seven games this season. He's recorded at least 55 tackles in each of his last five seasons, and has played in all 16 games in each of those seasons.

The Lions (3-3) currently have the 30th ranked run defense, allowing on average 139.3 yards per game. They've given up a league-high four rushes of 40-plus yards and are giving up an NFL worst 5.32 yards per carry.

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018.

Harrison should immediately help Detroit's run defense numbers, and if the Lions also get Ziggy Ansah (shoulder) back soon, it's an area where we could see the most significant improvement from this team moving forward.

With the addition of Harrison, the Lions now have two players (Da'Shawn Hand) currently graded in the top 10 among all interior defenders in the NFL by PFF.

Harrison is signed through the 2020 season, so he'll likely be a staple in the center of Detroit's defense beyond just the rest of this year. 

The trade comes at a good time for the Lions, who face the sixth ranked rushing offense in the NFL this week when the Seattle Seahawks come to Ford Field Sunday.

Asked about the potential addition of Harrison to the Lions roster on Wednesday, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll was impressed by the move.

"Snacks (Harrison's nickname) has been a big timer for a long time," Carroll said in a conference call. "He's a good football player. Big presence. Really good against the run game and disruptive in pass rush, too. It's a great get for them."

Carroll even joked he hoped Harrison would take his time getting to Detroit, so he wouldn't have to face him Sunday.

"Maybe he can drive or something, get there on Saturday or something," he said. "That's the best thing that'll happen for us is if he arrives maybe on Saturday."

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