29. Detroit Lions: Jer’Zhan Newton, DL, Illinois
At numerous points throughout the 2023 season, it was hard not to watch the Detroit Lions – despite the awesome run and immense success they enjoyed – and think that they could use some more juice defensively. Aidan Hutchinson is breaking out into a star, but the group around him, particularly on the interior, could stand to be upgraded to take some pressure off of the former first-round pick.
Adding a player like Illinois’ Jer’Zhan Newton is the type of move GM Brad Holmes needs to make. He’s a bit undersized for a traditional defensive tackle but he doesn’t play like it with phenomenal strength paired with high-end explosiveness on the interior. He’s a phenomenal pairing of power and burst. Putting him alongside Hutchinson and even Alim McNeil at the nose could allow for a lot new pressure looks that will amplify and improve the Lions defense.
30. Baltimore Ravens: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
It wasn’t long ago that we saw the Baltimore Ravens take a bet on the traits of a Penn State edge rusher early in the draft with the selection of Odafe Oweh. That has started to pay off for them, but the Ravens still need more reinforcements on the edge. As such, why not just return to that same formula by looking to Chop Robinson, another former Nittany Lion who has a ton of traits that are highly intriguing?
Robinson’s best reps in college match up with any edge rusher in the 2024 class. The issue is that his rawness at the position is evident at times, most notably against the run, but also at times when he’s asked to counter or adapt in his pass rush. Still, his length and explosiveness off of the edge are massive assets Baltimore could mold into a truly elite duo between him and Oweh.