Lions' 2024 Roster Bubble: Defensive Ends

Which Lions defensive ends could be on roster bubble?
Detroit Lions defensive lineman Mathieu Betts (95) practices during mini camp at Detroit Lions headquarters and practice facility in Allen Park on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.
Detroit Lions defensive lineman Mathieu Betts (95) practices during mini camp at Detroit Lions headquarters and practice facility in Allen Park on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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The Detroit Lions need more production from their pass-rush in 2024.

Aidan Hutchinson, entering his third NFL season, is expected to take another step forward toward becoming one of the league's best at his position. Though he finished the regular season with a modest total of 11.5 sacks, he led the league in pressures and showed flashes of dominance.

Hutchinson needs to finish more pressures with takedowns of the quarterback, but also dealt with increased attention from opponents in his second NFL season. The Lions are hoping to provide more weapons in an effort to take the eyes off of their top player at the position.

One player who can help the cause when healthy is Marcus Davenport, whom the Lions signed to a one-year deal in free agency. Davenport has been limited by injuries in recent years and played just four games for Minnesota last season.

However, Davenport can be an impact player when in the lineup. He has 23.5 career sacks in six NFL seasons and had two in four games last year. If he can remain healthy and available, he can be a force for Detroit's defense.

Another potential option on the edge is Josh Paschal, who demonstrated a keen ability in the run game last year. Paschal's development has been inhibited by injuries in his first two seasons, but put together a strong stretch at the end of last season.

Now, the Kentucky product needs to show more in the pass-rush. He has three career sacks working in a mostly rotational role.

James Houston is also expected to be a factor, though he could split time between a traditional EDGE role and the team's SAM linebacker position. He burst onto the scene as a rookie with eight sacks in seven games, but missed most of last year with an ankle injury.

Roster bubble

The depth chart at defensive end could feature some intriguing competition. John Cominsky has been productive throughout two seasons with the Lions, but he's entering the final year of his contract and could be at risk of falling into a decreased role.

He was still a part of the team's defensive scheme throughout the playoff push, but his snap count dwindled at points. Detroit also brought in Mathieu Betts as competition.

Betts is the reigning CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player after an exceptional campaign that saw him log 18 sacks in 2023. Betts has had chances to crack NFL rosters in the past, but appears to be much more developed after five CFL campaigns.

Lions' coach Dan Campbell admitted that Betts appears to have more versatility than even the staff expected when it comes to his style. If the defender is able to take on some coverage responsibilities as well, that may make it tough for Detroit to leave him off the roster.

Mitchell Agude is another option to keep an eye on, as he has benefitted from increased reps throughout the spring.

Other undrafted options include Isaac Ukwu and Nate Lynn, who are both listed as outside linebackers that bring pass-rush versatility.


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Christian Booher

CHRISTIAN BOOHER

Sports journalist who has covered the Detroit Lions the past three NFL seasons. Christian brings expert analysis, insights and an ability to fairly assess how the team is performing in a tough NFC North division.