Lions Projected to Find ‘Tag-Team’ Edge Rusher After Surprising Draft Move

Dan Campbell Chris Braswell

Getty The Athletic's Ben Standig projected head coach Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions to draft Alabama's Chris Braswell after trading out of the first round in the 2024 NFL draft.

A lot of mock draft experts have predicted the Detroit Lions to target an edge rusher in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft. But The Athletic’s Ben Standig projected the Lions to grab one of the top edge rushers in the class with Alabama’s Chris Braswell after not selecting in the first round at all.

In a mock draft released on March 25, Standig had the Lions trading back from No. 29 overall to No. 44. But even 15 selections later, Standig slotted Braswell to the Lions in the second round.

Trading for Carlton Davis aided the cornerback room,” The Athletic senior NFL writer wrote. “Now comes a tag-team partner for Aidan Hutchinson.”

In Braswell, the Lions would be landing the No. 4 edge rushing prospect in the 2024 draft class according to ESPN and Pro Football Focus. With a trade back, the Lions would also receive additional draft capital.

Standig proposed the Lions move back 15 spots for the No. 112 pick and a 2025 third-rounder with second-round potential.

With a new edge rusher to pair with Aidan Hutchinson and two more significant draft picks, it’s hard to envision a better trade back scenario for the Lions.

How Alabama’s Chris Braswell Could Fit With the Lions

The Lions weren’t a terrible pass rushing team in 2023. But that was in large part due to Hutchinson, who finished second in the NFL in pressures last season.

Hutchinson and defensive tackle Alim McNeill were the only Lions defenders with more than 3 sacks last season. Overall, Detroit was 23rd in sacks with 41.

Therefore, even after signing Marcus Davenport and D.J. Reader, the Lions are a fit for any of the top edge rushers in the 2024 draft class. ESPN and PFF not only have Braswell ranked as the No. 4 edge rusher in the 2024 draft, but a top 41 player overall. So, Braswell would offer the team some value if the Lions landed him at No. 44 in the second round.

However, other scouts aren’t as high on Braswell.

Bleacher Report’s overall draft rankings have him rated as the No. 70 prospect in the 2024 class. graded Braswell in the tier of players labeled, “will eventually be average starter.”

“Edge defender with good size and length but limited playing time over his four years at Alabama,”’s Lance Zierlein wrote. “Braswell might have a ceiling as a good 3-4 backup or average designated pass rusher with core special teams value.”

Could the Lions Trade Back Out of the First Round in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Quite a few mock drafts have proposed the possibility of the Lions moving up in the first round.

With the Lions expecting to be Super Bowl contenders in 2024, that would make sense. It would especially work if the Lions possess only one big need and trade up the draft board to fill that glaring hole.

But while it’s not as popular of a suggestion, Standig’s idea of the Lions trading down could make sense too.

After the trade for Carlton Davis, the Lions were left with only three draft picks in the top 163 selections. From pick N0. 74 to No. 164, the Lions will not make a single selection this year.

That’s a long time to go in the draft without a single choice. The Lions could fix that by acquiring the No. 112 selection and another draft pick next year.

If the Lions prefer one of the other top edge rushers in the class and have an opportunity to draft him, then it might not be worthwhile to move back. But if Braswell is the team’s top choice, they could still land him even after a trade out of the first round.

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