5 edge rusher options for Detroit Lions as Marcus Davenport insurance

Marcus Davenport carries clear durability concerns, so the Lions could add one of these edge rushers as insurance against that risk.
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2. Yannick Ngakoue, Free Agent

Before a down season, shortened by an injury, with the Chicago Bears last year, few pass rushers in the NFL were as consistent as Ngakoue. He posted at least eight sacks in each of his first seven seasons, with double-digit sacks twice and at least 9.5 sacks four times.

Part of the rub with Ngakoue, and perhaps a core reason he remains available, is how well-traveled he has been. He has played for five teams over the last four seasons, since his rookie contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars ran out. It's worth noting his underlying pass rush numbers have been falling, and that seemed to finally show in his raw sack production last season.

As for that aforementioned injury, a broken ankle, Ngakoue made an effort to dismiss any concern about it back in May,

Ngakoue does no offer much of anything as a run defender, and if his drop-off in sacks last year is the new norm he won't offer anything of substance before too long. Still, as a signing who'd be given one express purpose (get after the passer), the Lions could do worse than giving him a shot.

1. Matthew Judon, New England Patriots

A recent report suggested Judon and the Patriots were close to agreeing to a contract extension. But on the other hand he's approaching his 32nd birthday (Aug. 15), he missed all but four games last year due to a bicep injury and the Patriots are in a rebuild mode post-Bill Belichick.

Judon skipped some of the voluntary portion of the Patriots' offseason work, but he showed up for mandatory minicamp (an "I'm just here so I don't get fined" vibe in some way). He has said he won't stage a hold-in as he seeks a new deal, but his response on Twitter earlier this week when a fan mentioned the need to extend him, could be broadly telling.

Judon followed that response with this post.

Judon had 15.5 sacks for the Patriots in 2022, he had12.5 sacks for them the season before that and he had four sacks in his four games last year. So he seems to have plenty left in the tank, and if the Patriots aren't going to give him a contract extension it makes sense for them to entertain trade offers. The Lions could very well put an offer together, and there's a solid argument they should.

The Lions could give Judon a more targeted role (70-plus percent snaps played in games he played in each of the last three seasons) and increase his effectiveness. As much as he'd be able to choose where he's traded to, if he's on the trade block or is trying to push for a trade, the Lions, positioned as a legit Super Bowl contender this year, would presumably be on any list of teams he'd like to go to.

If he's available and the price is right, Judon could become a Lion in fairly short order.


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