3 ‘High Profile’ edge rushers the Detroit Lions should consider for 2021

One of the biggest issues the Detroit Lions have had since Matt Patricia took over as head coach is putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

If this was the 1980s or 1990s, Patricia’s defense may work as there was a higher focus on rushing the football during that time, but this is the 2020s and most offenses are built around throwing the football.

Because of that, it is essential to acquire players who can make opposing quarterbacks’ lives a living hell.

Here are 3 high-profile edge rushers via The Athletic who will cost a pretty penny but have proven they can get the job done.

Yannick Ngakoue, edge, Ravens (26)

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The Jaguars tagged him last offseason and then traded him to the Vikings. The Vikings then dealt him to the Ravens. Through 10 games, Ngakoue has five sacks and eight quarterback hits. Over the last five years, Ngakoue’s 43.5 sacks are tied for 11th most, and his 94 QB hits rank tied for 14th. He’s young and durable (he has missed just one game in five seasons). The Ravens can extend his contract, tag him again, tag and trade him or let him walk in free agency and likely receive a compensatory pick. -Sheil Kapadia

He’s been available via trade twice in the past few months alone — Minnesota acquired him from Jacksonville, then later dealt him to Baltimore. The price tag on the latter was reasonable (a 2021 third-rounder and a conditional 2022 fifth), but the Lions didn’t jump into the fray. To do so this spring will be costly. Think Trey Flowers money (six years, $90 million), maybe more. While that’d be tough to squeeze under the cap, Detroit still needs a pure pass rusher. -Chris Burke

Bud Dupree, edge, Steelers (28)

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The Steelers used the franchise tag on him last offseason, and Dupree has produced again with eight sacks and 15 quarterback hits. If he gets to the open market, he’ll be an attractive, versatile option — specifically to teams that run 3-4 defenses and are in need of a disruptive outside linebacker. Dante Fowler’s three-year, $45 million deal with the Falcons last season could serve as the floor for a potential long-term deal with Dupree. -Sheil Kapadia

“If he gets to the open market, he’ll be an attractive, versatile option — specifically to teams that run 3-4 defenses and are in need of a disruptive outside linebacker.” So, again, this would be easier if we knew Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia were coming back in 2021. Because while Patricia opts to call his defense “multiple,” at its heart it’s a 3-4 base with 4-2-5 pass-rush packages. Dupree has a combined 19.5 sacks and 32 QB hits over the 2019-20 seasons. -Chris Burke

Matt Judon, edge, Ravens (29)

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The Ravens used the franchise tag on Judon last offseason. Through 10 games, he has four sacks and 17 quarterback hits. Judon has hit the quarterback on 9.3 percent of his pass-rush opportunities, which ranks second behind only T.J. Watt. He averaged more than eight sacks and 24 QB hits per season from 2017-19. Baltimore might have to decide between keeping Judon or Ngakoue. -Sheil Kapadia

Baltimore will have a difficult time affording both Judon and Ngakoue this offseason. Merely because he’s older, Judon could wind up being the cheaper option but he’ll still rake it in if he reaches the market. The West Bloomfield native and Grand Valley State product has averaged 20 QB hits per year as a pro, and he had 33 last season. -Chris Burke

–Comments via Sheil Kapadia and Chris Burke, The Athletic–