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NFL draft for 2022: 5 edge defenders to watch for the Detroit Lions

NFL draft for 2022: 5 edge defenders to watch for the Detroit Lions

Previous entries in this series: | | | | | Today: Edge defenders

In April, two very prominent names were at the top of this list, but that doesnt mean there isnt room for players to be found for the defensive edges outside of the top-two names for the Detroit Lions.

The corner rusher in Detroit has a real need of Trey Flowers and Charles Harris. Flowers has played only 14 games in two seasons, but Harris is without a contract for 2022.

Flowers is the second highest-paid player on the team and the fifth highest-paid outside linebacker in the league. But despite Flowers being one of the best all-around players at his position, its hard to justify that price for someone with durability concerns and only 10.5 sacks in three seasons for a rebuilding team.

Yeah, you know Trey, youre talking about the ultimate glue guy, ultimate leader, Holmes said. Hes what were all about, in terms of grit and being just a football player. So it was unfortunate what he had to deal with, but again, those discussions are going to be forward down the road.

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The Romeo Okwara continues to make his return from an Achilles injury, ending the year with a high note. Austin Bryant has another year on his rookie contract after playing a career-high 14 games. It remains to be seen what happens at Pick 2, with another first-round pick and early second-rounder on the books.

For this year's position previews, we'll do ourselves a favor and separate the edge defenders and interior defensive linemen.

Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan

Aidan Hutchinson is the most well-known player on the board, thanks to his 64 tackles and a consensus All-American honors, and the Joe Lombardi Trophy.

Hutchinson was commended for his leadership and strength while landing No. 2 on Bruce Feldman's freaks list in 2019.

Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon

Kayvon Thibodeaux is up there with Hutchinson in the discussions for the top-two picks. Hes a 6-foot-5, 250-pound athletically-gifted pass rusher, who has 12 in just 10 games in 2021. Holmes is also on the lookout for the sacks, despite being forced to return to the building for a walk.

As his rush moves slowly improve, Thibodeaux isnt in the same prospect tier as Myles Garrett, Chase Young, or the Bosa brothers.

Jeffrey Gunter, EDGE, and Coastal Carolina are some of the most well-known experts in the country.

Jeffrey Gunter has had 5.5 sacks and 36 tackles for the Chanticleers in 2021, bringing him back to the forefront of his career. At 6-foot-4, he is determined to get after some quarterbacks.

Carson Wells, EDGE, and Colorado are among the companies that have hired Carson Wells.

Carson Wells has 29.5 tackles for loss through his last 18 games, adding 11.5 sacks in that span. Wells finished second in the nation in tackles for loss, adding sacks in five of six games.

Cameron Thomas, EDGE, and San Diego State are some of the best candidates for the country.

Cameron Thomas was dominant at San Diego State, but moved up and down the line in 2021, owing to his size and capability. Thomas is the 17th most ranked edge defender in the nation, with 44 hurries, 21 quarterback hits and some of the best marks in pass-rush win rate.

Other names to watch: David Ojabo, Michael Clemons, Arnold Ebiketie, Myjai Sanders, Dominique Robinson, Buffalo's Taylor Riggins, and Cody Roscoe in Syracuse.

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