Trade Proposal Provides Lions Opportunity to Grab ‘Boom or Bust’ Edge Rusher

The Detroit Lions will likely have an opportunity to draft an impactful edge rusher at No. 29 overall. But their odds of landing one of the top prospects along the edge such as UCLA’s Laiatu Latu will obviously increase with a higher draft pick.

NFL playoffs: Lions advance to NFC title game with 31-23 win over Buccaneers | AP News

Therefore, Bleacher Report’s Ryan Fowler argued that it would make sense for the Lions to acquire the No. 24 overall pick from the Dallas Cowboys.

Fowler proposed the Lions send their first-rounder along with the No. 73 overall pick to the Cowboys for the No. 24 selection and a 2025 fourth-round pick. With the trade up, Fowler argued the Lions should target one of the top three edge rushers in the class — UCLA’s Laiatu Latu, Alabama’s Dallas Turner or Florida State’s Jared Verse.

“For Detroit, leapfrogging Tampa Bay (No. 26) could be its best shot at adding the edge-rusher it desires,” wrote Fowler.

“Having a shot at one of the three premier edge-rushers in the class could remain the priority for GM Brad Holmes.”

Those three edge rushers have been somewhat interchangeable on mock draft boards this spring. But according to Bleacher Report’s consensus board, Latu is the most likely of the top edge rushers to still be on the board at No. 24.

Latu possesses plenty of traits to like, but there’s some concern around his draft stock.’s Lance Zierlein identified him as having “boom-or-bust potential.”

“Concerns surrounding his neck injury (while at Washington) will certainly come into play when he gets to medical exams, but his durability and play at UCLA are certainly promising,” Zierlein wrote. “Everything about Latu’s skill set and production is translatable to the NFL, and he could become a Pro Bowler as a 3-4 outside linebacker with a heavy influence on the game.”

How UCLA’s Laiatu Latu Could Fit With the Lions

Laiatu Latu Named to the Nagurski Trophy Watchlist

The Lions struggled in pass defense last season. That’s led a lot of analysts to argue Detroit needs to target a cornerback early in the 2024 draft. But the Lions could also use an edge rusher.

Detroit finished tied for 23rd in sacks last season with 41.

In free agency, the Lions added defensive Marcus Davenport and defensive tackle D.J. Reader. But neither signed a contract longer than two years.

With their first pick in 2024, the Lions could target an edge rusher they wish to pair with budding star Aidan Hutchinson.

Latu could very well be that player. At the very least, he would offer great value at No. 24 even if the Lions have to give up another draft pick to land him.

The consensus draft boards at ESPN, Pro Football Focus and Bleacher Report all consider Latu a top 15 pick. The lowest any of those draft rankings have placed Latu is No. 14.

PFF holds Latu in the highest regard. PFF has the UCLA prospect rated as the best edge rusher and No. 10 overall prospect in the class.

If the Lions landed him at No. 24, that could be one of the top steals of the first round.

Will the Lions Trade Up in the First Round of the 2024 NFL Draft?

UCLA's Laiatu Latu grateful for his 'surreal as hell' pro day - Los Angeles Times

If Latu is available when the Cowboys are about to make their selection, then the Lions should think seriously about moving up five spots. But it’s difficult to say with any certainty that he will be on the board at that spot.

It’s also unclear what other prospects the Lions may be interested in trading up for in the first round. But over the last few months, rumors have proposed Detroit could trade up for either Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell or Alabama’s Terrion Arnold.

However, trading down is also a possibility. That could be hard to do with the NFL draft taking place in Detroit. But Lions general manager Brad Holmes implied that type of move is on the table.

“Look, we have to do the right thing for the organization,” Holmes said on April 18, via Jeff Risdon of USA Today. “If it makes sense and it lines up and it’s the right thing to do, then we have to do the right thing. Say that happens where the fans have been waiting there all night for this pick and we get an offer that we can’t really turn down and makes sense, we’ve got to do the right thing.”

The first round of the NFL draft begins at 8 pm ET.

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