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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2. Markus Golden

Golden's sack production has been up-and-down over the course of his career. Last season with the Steelers was a downturn, with four sacks in 16 games and 230 defensive snaps. But 16 pressures on 117 pass rush snaps (according to PFF) is a pretty good pressure rate (13.7 percent), and he had at least 46 pressures in each of the four previous seasons. Among all edge defenders last year, regardless of snap volume, Golden's overall PFF grade (83.5) was tied for 15th-best and his pass rush grade (77.6) was top-30.

Golden is, frankly, a sneaky good pass rusher who probably gets overlooked because of his fluctuation in sack numbers. He seems like the kind of player the Lions would uncover, and COO Mike Disner was in Arizona front office (though not in a personnel or scouting role) when the Cardinals drafted him.

1. Yannick Ngakoue

Prior to last season with the Chicago Bears (four sacks), Ngakoue had at least eight sacks in each of his first seven NFL seasons. He has become very well-traveled in recent years, playing for five teams over the last four seasons, with a noted drop in his pass rush grades from Pro Football Focus over that span that finally seemed to show in his sack production last season.

But Ngakoue did have 34 quarterback pressures last year, good for second on the Bears in 13 games. Sack numbers are inherently random and not necessarily reflective of a pass rusher's effectiveness, as shown with Hutchinson for a stretch last season.

An ankle injury ended Ngakoue's 2023 season, but his recent post on Twitter seems to suggest he's healthy and ready to go. It also serves as a Bat-signal to teams who may be in the market for an edge rusher.

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