Lions Warned to Avoid All-American Edge Rusher in NFL Draft

Dallas Turner

Getty's All Lions' Christian Booher argued that the Detroit Lions should avoid drafting Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner.

In all likelihood, Alabama edge rusher Dallas Turner will not still be on the draft board when the Detroit Lions make their first selection at No. 29 overall. But even if he was,’s All Lions’ Christian Booher argued the Lions should not consider Turner anyway.

Booher named the All-American Alabama edge rusher one of five players the Lions should avoid in the 2024 NFL draft.

Turner took a big leap as a pass-rusher last season, as he finished the year with 55 pressures and 10 sacks,” Booher wrote. “He finished his three seasons at Alabama with 22.5 total sacks, which leads one to believe that he’ll be a solid player at the professional level.

“However, Turner did not show a ton of improvement in his work against the run. His Pro Football Focus run defense grade was 69.8, which was the lowest of his three-year career.

“The Lions need players who are solid against the run, and Turner’s performance didn’t necessarily show that. It’s a deep pass-rusher class early, so Detroit can be thorough and get their preferred fit.”

Any advice to avoid Turner in the upcoming draft will come as a surprise to most. The consensus draft rankings from ESPN, Pro Football Focus and Bleacher Report all have Turner ranked as one of the top two edge rushers in the 2024 draft class.

All three draft boards also have Turner rated as a top 16 prospect overall.

In addition to 10 sacks, Turner posted 14.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles and 1 pass defense last season. In three years at Alabama, he had 22.5 sacks and 32.5 tackles for loss over 38 games.

Concerns With Alabama Edge Rusher Dallas Turner

Draft experts from PFF and Bleacher Report admitted that Turner isn’t a finished product, particularly against the run. BR’s Matt Holder argued Turner could use more strength for run defense.

“He is a little light and could afford to add some more strength to hold up against better competition in the NFL,” Holder wrote. “That will also help him shed blocks more consistently.”

But Turner is very athletic, particularly while rushing the passer. Even if it takes him some time to develop, Turner is likely to be a top 10 pick in 2024 because of his upside.

“Long and athletic with the explosive traits needed to become an impactful NFL pass rusher,”’s Lance Zierlein wrote. “Turner’s frame and game are much less developed than Will Anderson Jr.’s coming out of Alabama last year, so it could take time for him to make his mark as a starting 3-4 outside linebacker.”

It’s very unlikely Turner lasts on the board until the No. 29 overall pick. If he does, then his run defense or need for more development will likely be the reasons for the drop on the board.

At No. 29, though, Turner could present tremendous value that’s hard to pass on.

Why the Lions Could Use an Edge Rusher in the First Round

If the Lions target an edge rusher in the first round, they would obviously prefer to land one strong in all areas. But rushing the passer is Detroit’s biggest need in the front seven.

The Lions were second in run defense but 23rd in sacks last season. Aidan Hutchinson and Alim McNeill were the only Lions defenders with more than 3 sacks in 2023.

Adding Turner to the mix, even if he’s a pass-rushing specialist throughout his rookie season, could help Hutchinson and McNeill see fewer double-team blocks.

There should be plenty of hope as well that Turner can add strength to his upper body to become a better run blocker. Zierlein wrote that Turner gained 20 pounds while at Alabama.

It seems unlikely that the Lions have eliminated the possibility of grabbing Turner as Booher suggested they do. But the Lions also don’t have to grab Turner to find an impactful edge rusher in the 2024 class. Fellow edge rushers Laiatu Latu and Jared Verse are potential first-round targets as well.

And again, Turner is not likely to be available at No. 29 anyway.

Read More