Detroit Lions, NFC North 2019 preview: Edge defenders

Da'Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Da'Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bears

Key Returning Players: Khalil Mack, Leonard Floyd, Aaron Lynch

New Additions: None

Key Losses: None

With only five draft picks and a climbing salary cap, the Chicago Bears were limited in what they could spend to add to their edge defender unit this offseason. With All-Pro Khalil Mack leading the group though, that’s hardly a concern for 2019.

After being acquired from the Oakland Raiders late last summer, Mack did for the Bears 2018 what he’s done for his whole career; give opposing offenses fits, snap after snap. He is a physical freak, able to win almost any matchup on the edge. He’s a game-changing play waiting to happen.

Mack is capable of generating a lot of pressure on his own, but there isn’t much depth behind him. Former first rounder Leonard Floyd has seen his sack totals decline in each of the last two seasons after a promising rookie year. Should Floyd finally reach his potential after having his fifth-year option picked up, the Bears already top ranked defense will be that much scarier.

Veteran Aaron Lynch returns after an underwhelming first campaign with the Bears. Lynch has had an inconsistent run after a pair of productive years in his first two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Chicago is hoping that he can help provide some pressure on the outside in order to help the Bears increase their impressive total of 50 sacks from a season ago.

Lynch was re-signed to a one-year, $1 million contract in April, so Chicago is risking little in bringing him back to the Midway. He did miss the last three games of 2018, including their playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles with an elbow injury, but he should be ready for training camp.

Next. Ranking the Lions’ first round picks since 2010. dark

The Bears have star players at every level of their defense, so the underwhelming depth of their edge group is hardly a concern. As with the Lions, they will be once again looking for their powerful defensive front to control the line of scrimmage and create opportunities for their edge rushers to attack opposing quarterbacks with regularity. With Mack leading the way, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Which NFC North team do you think has the best group of edge defenders? Let us know in the comments section below.