Lions DB’s coach Aubrey Pleasant is on The Athletic’s “40 under 40” roster

Detroit Lions defensive coach Aubrey Pleasant is no longer a secret. During this off-season period, Pleasant had two interviews with the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints vacancies. While he didn’t get any job, it’s clear he’s on the radar of a lot of people in the NFL.

Aubrey also gained recognition this week from Lindsay Jones of The Athletic, who completed her “40 to 40” list on Tuesday. This list features the newest emerging NFL players from the coaching staffs, customer service offices, and even NFL agents, all under the age of 40.

Pleasant was one of the 11 people mentioned in the assistant trainers section.

“Dan Campbell never trained with Pleasant before hiring him on his Lions staff in 2021, but he respected the work Pleasant did with the Baran’s defensive back,” Jones wrote. “What Campbell saw was a coach who could connect with veteran stars like Aqib Talib and Jalen Ramsey, but also develop young unannounced players like Darious Williams.”

While defending Detroit’s passing was among the worst in 2021 – Pleasant’s first year at Lions – the defensive-defender coach was credited with developing several young players. Not only did he help striker Amani Oruwariye and safety Tracy Walker organize his career seasons, but he got a productive play from under-exposed rookies AJ Parker and Jerry Jacobs when they were forced into important roles.

Throughout the season, players raved about Pleasant’s ability to communicate and connect with them. During the first week of the season, Pleasant came under fire a fiery exchange of views with attorney Jeff Okudahbut the players quickly defended him, pointing out that the sideline interaction ended in a hug and that the players had different relationships with their coaches.

“He came here and really challenged everyone because he sees the potential in everyone and he really just wants to light it (fire) under every single guy,” Oruwariye said at the time. “And she has different relationships, different ways, with everyone. But at the end of the day it’s just two guys who want to be great, you know what I mean? We have a great relationship with coach Pleasant. “

Pleasant’s relationship with his players is an important reason why the team was able to re-hire Walker, who struggled with a free agency this off-season.

“I love playing for (Defense Coordinator Aaron Glenn) and I love playing for AP, you know what I mean?” Walker said this spring. “These guys took care of me and made me better. Since they came here, I’ve noticed huge improvements to my game, you know? Mentally, physically and as a man. So at the end of the day, I still want to play for them. “

Pleasant seems to be doomed to find a defensive coordinator job in the near future, especially if a Detroit second-hand takes the big step in 2022. Of course, he could be promoted at Detroit if current defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn finds a job as head coach elsewhere. However, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell, who interviewed Pleasant in February, believes that Pleasant is going for things greater than the job of a coordinator.

“I think he will be a future coach in this league,” said O’Connell

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