5 free agent edge rushers Detroit Lions should have on their radar

If the Lions are in the market for an edge rusher after the NFL draft, these five free agents should be on their radar.
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If you were making a list of draft needs for the Detroit Lions, or doing a mock draft, edge rusher was on the radar. They were toward the bottom of the league with 41 sacks during the regular season, though a late surge (18 over the final six weeks, nine sacks in the playoffs) should be noted.

In free agency, Marcus Davenport was added to the edge rusher mix. He has two or fewer sacks in three of the last four seasons though, as injuries have taken him off the field regularly. Last season with the Vikings, he played in just four games. While the Lions look like a really good landing spot for him, counting on Davenport for much of anything feels foolish.

The Lions will have James Houston returning to health after an ankle injury derailed his 2023 season. Josh Paschal, if healthy, has potential to be a difference maker off the edge. Last season's CFL sack leader, Mathieu Betts, is an interesting flier.

If that sounds like an awful lot of hypotheticals and 'ifs' for edge rusher production outside of Aidan Hutchinson, not too unlike last season, it's not your imagination. The group outside of Hutchinson (Charles Harris, Romeo Okwara) was ripe for offseason turnover, but it hasn't fully come.

So it's fair to wonder if the Lions will circle back to the free agent market after the draft to add an edge rusher. Maybe they won't, as Mike Payton of AtoZ Sports suggested. But there's also a case for that spot being the biggest weakness on their roster now.

Here are five free agent edge rushers who should be on the Lions' radar, such as they may be looking.

5 free agent edge rushers who should be on the Detroit Lions radar after the draft

5. Myjai Sanders

A third-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2022, Sanders is looking for his third NFL team in as many seasons. The Cardinals waived him off IR early last season and the Houston Texans claimed him. He had zero sacks in seven games for Houston last year, and they waived him in April after they added to their defensive line.

Over his final three seasons in college at Cincinnati, Sanders had 13.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss. That potential should still be there at 25 years, even with a less than ideal start to his NFL career.

Sanders stands out as a "sign him, give him an opportunity and promise him nothing" flier for someone. The Lions could at least do that, in the name of added competition in the edge rusher mix.