Veteran pass rusher stands out as trade option for Detroit Lions during the draft

The Detroit Lions may make a move for a veteran during the 2024 NFL Draft, and there’s a veteran edge rusher who looks like a sneaky fit.

Matthew Judon has starred for the Patriots this season, and has had fun doing it - The Boston Globe

The Detroit Lions will likely have several options as it relates to trades they can make during the 2024 NFL Draft. While most involve moving around in the draft, there may be an opportunity to add a veteran player.

Last season, the Lions traded D’Andre Swift to the Philadelphia Eagles during Day 3 of the draft and landed a 2025 fourth-round pick. This year, they could make a similar move in reverse to add a veteran at a key spot.

Ahead of the draft, Pro Football Focus analyst Marcus Mosher put together a list of six veterans that could be on the move during the draft. There weren’t many positions featured where the Lions have a dire need, the edge rusher spot featured a player that could be a great fit in Matthew Judon.

As Mosher wrote, there is a rebuild happening in New England and it could leave many veterans in limbo. Judon could now be available to contending teams, and any contender that needs pash rush help should have interest.

“The Patriots are in the process of a full rebuild under new head coach Jerod Mayo. No one is expecting them to compete for the division or a playoff spot this year, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them trade a few aging veterans to teams with a chance to compete.”

“One player that fits that mold is Matt Judon, who is returning from a major injury in 2023. Judon played just 184 snaps last season after being injured in Week 4. However, he is still one of the NFL’s best pass-rushers despite his age. He’ll turn 32 in August, but could still help out teams in need of pass rushers.”

Mosher had the Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams as the top team fits for Judon, with a late-round pick as the potential cost. The Lions also make plenty of sense though, especially with that cost in mind.

Matthew Judon looks like nice fit to boost Detroit Lions’ pass rush

ESPN ranks Patriots' Matt Judon as AFC East's top pass rusher

Pending the draft, the Lions have only added Marcus Davenport to their edge rusher mix this offseason. The former first-round pick is an unproven commodity after his injury-shortened 2023 season, even if he seems primed for a revival.

Judon is entering his age-32 season, and he’s coming off injury himself (four games played in 2023). However, he would offer the Lions the kind of productive veteran presence up front they have lacked.

Prior to last year, earned four straight Pro Bowl selections with at least 9.5 sacks in three of those four campaigns. In four of five seasons from 2018-2022, he posted a PFF pass rush grade over 70.0.

The Lions are now a prime location for veteran players looking to chase a ring. Judon would be an obvious character fit, along with still being a plenty-capable pass rusher.

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