Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell believes in the value of pass rushers, and the statistics support it.
“I don’t think you can have enough rushers,” Campbell said in his Combine press conference.
Pass rushers played a significant role in the Lions’ turnaround in the 2022 season – from a 1-6 start to an 8-2 finish for a final 9-8 won-loss record.
The Lions had 11 sacks in the first seven games. They more than doubled that in the last 10 games, sacking opposing quarterbacks 28 times.
Rookies taken at opposite ends of last year’s draft led the rush. Aidan Hutchinson, drafted second overall, led the Lions with 9.5 sacks. James Houston, taken in the sixth round and 217th overall, was next with eight – in only seven games.
A pass rusher is expected to be high on the Lions’ list for who they’ll take with the sixth pick in this year’s draft. Will Anderson Jr. of Alabama is the top prospect among edge rushers with Tyree Wilson of Texas Tech next in line.
Following is a preview of the 2023 defensive end/edge rusher draft strength, the Lions’ depth and draft priority at the position, and five prospects who could interest the Lions.