Utah's Bradlee Anae Is a Great Fit for Lions

Logan Lamorandier

The Lions and their coaching staff got the chance to take a great look at some of the best NFL Draft prospects last week while at the Senior Bowl.

It wasn't difficult to see that Detroit head coach Matt Patricia seemed to gravitate towards certain players.

One of those players was EDGE defender Bradlee Anae out of Utah.

There have been more than a few local writers who have pegged Anae as a great fit in Detroit's scheme. Heck, even ESPN's Senior Bowl broadcast team was mentioning the overt infatuation Patricia seemed to have for Anae.

Given the lack of pass rush the Lions had this past season and the type of player that Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn typically look for, Anae seemingly checks all the boxes.

First off, Anae measured in at a little over 6-foot-3 and 257 pounds during the weigh-ins.

That may not be elite size for a down defensive end, but it's perfect size for the JACK backer role in Patricia's scheme.

According to Pro Football Focus, no edge defender in the class recorded more quarterback pressures since 2017 than Anae did with 158.

That type of production really catches your eye. 

Anae wins with great use of his hands and a complete bag of pass-rushing moves in his repertoire. 

He is strong at the point of attack, and really understands how to use length and leverage to control offensive linemen. 

The first-team All-Pac-12 defender has also demonstrated the ability to play with either his hand in the dirt or standing up.

Not only was Anae super productive in college, but his skills translated well to the Senior Bowl, too. 

He was graded as the second-best player in the game by PFF. He accumulated five quarterback pressures and three sacks on just 16 pass-rush snaps.

Even with Anae's prolific on-field statistics, he isn't considered a first-round pick. 

He is currently viewed as more of a mid-day two selection -- mostly due to some athletic concerns. 

Based off recent draft history, pure speed and quickness aren't necessarily at the top of the list in terms of what the Lions look for in a front-seven player. 

Obviously, athleticism is important, but size seems to be paramount. 

We will have to wait until the combine to really get a full understanding of what Anae is working with athletically.

Depending on Anae's combine numbers, he could shoot up draft boards. 

If not, he will certainly be a fan favorite for the Lions to take in the middle rounds of the draft. 

Per Trevor Sikkema of The Draft Network on Anae:

"Strong to hold the line as a defensive end. Can play the run very well with strong hands, good length and an understanding of his job. Has a strong bull rush with a good punch on contact. Can push offensive linemen back on a regular basis to collapse the pocket. Might not have that noteworthy extra gear around the edge, but he has a food first step. Spin move is definitely his go-to pass rush move. He can hit it nicely when he sets his guy when he hits that first step."

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