Lions Predicted to Add Forceful Edge Rusher With ‘Jarring Power’

The Detroit Lions addressed their defensive needs in the first two weeks of NFL free agency. But’s Chad Reuter projected the Lions to continue adding talent on defense with Darius Robinson in the first round.

Dan Campbell fulfilled promise has Lions on the doorstep of first Super  Bowl appearance

Reuter had the Lions selecting Robinson at No. 29 overall in his four-round NFL mock draft on March 22.

“Robinson displayed his versatility in Missouri’s scheme last year, often standing up at 285 pounds,” Reuter wrote. “The Lions would likely use him in a similar fashion across from Aidan Hutchinson.”

Entering the 2024 NFL draft, Robinson’s biggest strength is his physical tools, including the incredible force he can create with his body.

“Right out of the gate, Robinson’s physical attributes should give him a potential advantage in head-to-head matchups,” wrote’s Lance Zierlein. “He has jarring power in his hands and a twitchy upper body to get rid of blockers quickly.

“Robinson’s power and motor increase the chances he becomes a good starting base end who reduces inside on third downs.”

In 12 games during the 2023 season, Robinson posted 8.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and 1 forced fumble. He also had 43 total tackles.

How Missouri Edge Darius Robinson Could Fit With the Lions

Since the beginning of NFL free agency, the Lions have signed cornerback Amik Robertson, defensive end Marcus Davenport and defensive tackle D.J. Reader. Detroit also traded for cornerback Carlton Davis and re-signed fellow cornerbacks Khalil Dorsey and Emmanuel Moseley.

With those players added to the 2024 roster, the Lions have opened up some flexibility. They could target who they believe is the best overall prospect in the opening round of the draft rather than be pigeon-holed into targeting only a need.

Robinson is one of the more intriguing prospects who is projected to be available late in the first round. The consensus ESPN draft rankings have Robinson rated as one of the top 25 prospects in the upcoming draft class.

“His length and explosive power make him a problem for interior offensive linemen when he kicks inside,” ESPN wrote. “Robinson is a physical and tough run defender with the strength to set a hard edge and the long arms to stack blockers.”

Robinson relied on his strength to help him post 13 sacks and 21 tackles for loss in 43 games at Missouri.

The Lions were tied for 23rd in the NFL with 41 sacks last season. Pairing Robinson with Aidan Hutchinson, who finished second in the NFL with 101 pressures and led the Lions with 11.5 sacks, could give Detroit a dangerous bookend of edge rushers.

NFL Draft Experts Identify Robinson’s Athleticism as His Weakness

Robinson is intriguing prospect in part, though, because of the polarizing opinions on his draft stock.

While ESPN clearly considers him a first-round prospect, Pro Football Focus rated Robinson the No. 44 player in the upcoming draft class.

Meanwhile, Bleacher Report doesn’t even consider the Missouri edge rusher a guaranteed second-rounder. On Bleacher Report’s consensus rankings, Robinson was ranked No. 73 overall.

As strong as Robinson is, the concern with him is he is over-reliant on his strength. Zierlein and Bleacher Report’s Matt Holder have significant questions about his athleticism.

“Robinson isn’t a high-level athlete, which is currently limiting his pass-rush arsenal,” Holder wrote. “He lacks the change-of-direction skills to effectively turn speed to power, and he isn’t quick-twitched to win with finesse moves.

“He shouldn’t be expected to be a significant contributor as a rusher right away.”

In a perfect world, the Lions will land a prospect in the first round who could develop into a valuable contributor immediately. That will help Detroit make a Super Bowl push this upcoming season.

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