Lions Reunite Defensive Line Coach With Massive ‘Athletic Big Man’

The Detroit Lions made two roster additions on May 7. With the second one, the team is reuniting new defensive line coach Terrell Williams with one of his former defensive linemen from Tennessee — Kyle Peko.

Terrell Williams to interview with Bears for vacant DC position | ChicagoBearsHQ

The Lions announced the signing of Peko, along with the addition of safety C.J. Moore, on X (formerly Twitter).

Peko played for Williams with the Tennessee Titans during the 2021 and 2023 seasons. In between, he played for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2022.

Over two seasons with the Titans, Peko posted 32 combined tackles, including 4 tackles for loss. He also had 2 sacks, 5 quarterback hits, 1 pass defense and 1 forced fumble in 21 games, 13 of which he started.

Last season, Peko started 10 of the 13 games he appeared in for Tennessee. He recorded a career-high 22 combined tackles, including 2 tackles for loss, 2 quarterback hits and 1 pass defense.

Over his eight-year career, Peko has also played for the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills. SB Nation’s Mile High Report’s Scotty Payne described Peko as “an athletic big man” when the Broncos signed Peko as an undrafted free agent in 2016.

“His lateral quickness is evident on tape. He’s an athletic big man who shows surprisingly good chase and tackle skills,” Payne wrote. “He also showed a good spin move on film.

“He has a good motor and will leave it all on the field.”

“He also has bloodlines on his side. Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko is Kyle Peko’s cousin.”

What Kyle Peko Could Bring to Lions

Raiders sign DT Kyle Peko

With Peko, the Lions are replacing some of the veteran defensive line depth the team allowed to depart in free agency this offseason.

After the midway point of the 2023 season, Detroit signed both defensive end Bruce Irvin and defensive tackle Tyson Alualu.

Irvin didn’t finish the 2023 campaign with the Lions. But combined, Irvin and Alualu played in four contests as practice squad elevations. Alualu also dressed for all three of Detroit’s playoff games.

Irvin signed with the Miami Dolphins after the Lions released him on January 3. Alualu is still a free agent this offseason.

Peko could replace Alualu as a veteran interior defensive lineman who could push some of the team’s youngsters at the position. Like Alualu, Peko could hold a practice squad spot and be a key contributor on gamedays as well.

Peko spent parts of three seasons with the Broncos after being an undrafted free agent. He posted 8 combined tackles in 9 games in Denver.

In 2018, Peko didn’t appear in a single game with the Broncos and Bills. Then in 2019, he dressed for six contests in Denver and Buffalo and also spent time with the Indianapolis Colts practice squad.

Peko opted out of the 2020 NFL season because of COVID-19.

When he returned in July 2021, he signed with the Titans. Peko played in 29 games for the Titans and Raiders from 2021-23, which was 16 more contests than his first four seasons.

Peko has appeared in more games and made more starts for Williams than every other NFL defensive line coach that he has played for during his career.

Lions Also Signed Safety C.J. Moore

Report: Lions will re-sign C.J. Moore – The Oakland Press

The Lions made a pair of defensive signings on May 7. Not only did they add to their defensive line, they also brought back C.J. Moore for safety depth.

Moore played for the Lions from 2019-22. Detroit released Moore on April 21, 2023 because the NFL suspended him indefinitely for violating the league’s gambling policy.

The veteran safety could be a key addition. Before signing Moore, the Lions only had two safeties on their roster who played defensive snaps during 2023.

Moore should also play a lot of special teams. He averaged about 270 special teams snaps per season for Detroit from 2019-22.

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