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08/05/12Author: Chris Madden - Bleacher Report

Willie Young Has Taken the Next Step

Willie Young Has Taken the Next Step

As I mentioned in a previous article, Willie Young is the definition of an under-the-radar player. The seventh-round pick in 2010 has gotten better each year but was still fourth on the depth chart in 2011. He made plays last year, but he was only used sparingly.

This summer, with the absence of Cliff Avril working in his favor, Young has gotten the chance to prove himself with the first unit and he hasn't disappointed.

He's consistently held his own and in fact has been a stand out player during training camp. Many are predicting that he will have a break-out season.

It's early, but the takeaway is this: Young will see his playing time increase if he keeps on playing at this level.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Avril signed his one-year tender on Sunday and practiced with the Lions the same day. He will slide back into his starting defensive end spot opposite Kyle Vanden Bosch.

However, the Lions will work in Young much more frequently.

Avril's contract will be a much discussed issue next summer, too. If Young takes the next step perhaps it will make the Lions' decision whether to re-sign Avril a little easier.

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