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For now, Lions have better defensive front than Bucs

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Seth Wenig / Associated Press
With the punishing Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch already in the mix, the Lions are formidable up front.


Unlike a lot of my journalistic colleagues, I love reading comments readers paste at the end of articles. Of course, some aren't kind and some are so out there that I wonder what folks have been smoking before they logged on. In one way or another, though, I take something from what readers have posted because it tells me the temperature of what people are thinking.

An interesting trend popped up over the past few weeks when I posted a few items about Brian Price and Da'Quan Bowers, two members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' young defensive line, as well as Detroit drafting Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley. Supporters of those teams engaged in a verbal battle regarding the superiority of one D-line to the other.

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» Brooks: Fairley can do damage

On the surface, the Lions would seem to be better suited to pillage opponents up front next season because Fairley is the only newcomer to the mix. Ndamukong Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Cliff Avril and Corey Williams already are a pretty nasty bunch. Fairley will be more of a rotational player who will allow Detroit to do a lot of gaming and scheming to take advantage of matchups.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has more potential. Although 2010 No. 3 overall pick Gerald McCoy didn't dominate like No. 2 pick Suh did last season, he played a lot better than people think and he should be vastly improved this season. Suh's ability to take over games as a rookie was by far the aberration and not the norm for a first-year defensive tackle.

While McCoy could be better, he'll be surrounded, in essence by three rookies. Sure, Price was drafted in the second round a year ago, but he barely played because he went on injured reserve after five games with a painful pelvic fracture.

He returns with four screws in his pelvis and will be used at nose tackle. He's very tough and very hungry, but he still has a learning curve. So will Bowers, a second-round choice, and first-round pick Adrian Clayborn, who will play right end. Bowers, like Price, also is coming off surgery (knee). Over time, the Bucs' unit could develop into something scary.

For now, though, the Lions seem to have the makings of a front no team wants to face.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.

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