The Detroit Lions’ pass-rush performance during the 2023 NFL season has been inconsistent, experiencing highs and lows. While victories over Atlanta and Las Vegas showcased a formidable defense with multiple sacks, in three games, the team failed to record a single quarterback takedown. The need for a reliable complement to second-year rusher Aidan Hutchinson has become apparent.
Here are five intriguing edge rushing prospects from the 2024 NFL Draft that could be a good fit for the Lions:
Laiatu Latu, UCLA:Latu has rebounded impressively at UCLA after overcoming a neck injury that led to an initial retirement announcement by Washington’s coach in 2021.
With 21.5 sacks in 23 games, Latu brings elite quickness and a strong ability to tackle, accumulating 18.5 tackles for loss in the current season.
Although concerns about his past injury persist, his recent consistent performance suggests durability may not be a significant issue.
Latu’s versatility as a rusher makes him a potential fit for the Lions, whether off the edge or as the SAM linebacker.
Chop Robinson, Penn State:Robinson played a pivotal role in disrupting Michigan’s pass game, earning a Pro Football Focus pass rush grade of 91.3.
Throughout the season, he has been a consistent force with three sacks, five tackles for loss, and a total of 22 pressures in eight games.
His athleticism poses challenges for offensive tackles, indicating potential success at the professional level.
Bralen Trice, Washington:Trice’s powerful frame, measuring 6-foot-4, 274 pounds, contributes to his effectiveness in both pass and run situations.
With 54 pressures in the season, Trice has demonstrated his ability to make a difference in rush scenarios.
While refining his edge-bending skills is a potential area for improvement, his physicality and power make him a promising prospect.
JT Tuimoloau, Ohio State:Tuimoloau, a physically imposing end, has been a standout player for Ohio State, accumulating 5.5 sacks and showcasing exceptional athleticism.
His length and athleticism have made him a force in the pass game, with seven career passes defensed.
To reach his full potential, Tuimoloau will need to expand his repertoire of counter moves, but his athleticism and speed offer optimism for his professional career.
Princely Umanmielen, Florida:Umanmielen has recently gained attention with strong performances against Arkansas and South Carolina, displaying improvement throughout his career.
With 40 pressures in 10 games this season, Umanmielen’s development and ability to grow make him an appealing prospect.
Standing at 6-foot-5, his lean frame and long strides suggest further improvement in his edge-bending skills, making him a rising prospect in pre-draft evaluations.