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Instant Analysis on Lions 4th-round pick: Clemson EDGE Austin Bryant

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What you need to know about the Lions’ newest edge defender.

Louisville v Clemson Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions made Clemson DE Austin Bryant their newest member with the 117th overall pick of the NFL Draft on Saturday. The Lions originally held the 111th pick, but after trading away a sixth rounder to move up and select safety Will Harris on Friday, they were looking to add more draft capital and traded down with the Atlanta Falcons.

The 6-foot-4, 271 pound Bryant missed roughly half of the 2016 season after suffering a foot injury in training camp. He then played the latter part of the 2018 season with a torn right pectoral muscle he suffered in a November third game against Louisville. Surgery on the torn pec sidelined Bryant for much of the pre-draft process and left him unable to perform at the NFL Combine or Clemson Pro Day, meaning we don’t have any official athletic measurements for Bryant.

Bryant has more than enough film to compensate, however. After starting along Clemson’s menacing defensive line for the last two years, he has shown flashes of explosion off the line, and his arsenal of pass rushing moves could use some work. As you would expect from a guy in the fourth round, he has shown a lot of upside and flashes of being an elite pass-rusher, but is inconsistent.

Here’s what the folks over at Shakin’ the Southland had to say about Bryant:

Anywhere from the 2nd to the 6th round wouldn’t surprise me here. He played through a torn pectoral muscle last season and was still productive. Imagine what he can do if healthy! If your team doctors check it out and you feel comfortable with the recovery, he seems like a steal. He is a great character guy with proven production and incredible toughness. To me, this is an opportunity to get a second rounder in the 4th. This will be a great value pick for someone.

Now that it is all-said-and-done, we should take this time to give Austin Bryant the attention and recognition he deserves. There’s no doubt he was the most overlooked Power Ranger, something that’s still mind boggling to me. Bryant’s athleticism and physicality will translate well into the NFL, and he will be a lock for somewhere in the second-to-third round range of the draft (or at least he should be). Bryant fits the Clemson model well: Come to campus, compete and learn behind the older guys, and then dominate when it’s your time to shine.

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