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Lions acquire LB Eli Harold from 49ers for 7th-round pick in 2020

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
The Lions acquired linebacker Eli Harold from the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2020.

Allen Park — In an effort to bolster the team’s pass rush before the start of the regular season, the Detroit Lions  traded for San Francisco linebacker Eli Harold on Thursday.

A third-round pick out of Virginia in 2015, Harold has appeared in all 48 games since entering the league, including 24 starts. He’s recorded 84 tackles, five sacks and a forced fumble during that stretch.

Harold is listed at 6-foot-3, 257 pounds. During the pre-draft process, NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein compared Harold to Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon.

“Rushed with hand in ground and standing up,” Zierlein wrote in his scouting report. “Fires out of stance with forward lean, gaining ground quickly with his first two steps. Edge rusher who torques upper body around edge, giving tackles limited area to punch. Sinks hips, dips shoulder and trims the edge when he gains advantage around corner. Also has efficient, quick inside move to pressure quarterback.”

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The Lions have struggled to disrupt the pocket during the preseason. They are the only NFL team without a sack through two games.

“Obviously, if we’re not getting great production, we’re going to make sure that we try to improve that the best we can,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said on Wednesday.

Harold is a low-cost, low-risk lottery ticket for the Lions, costing only a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2020, a team source familiar with the deal confirmed. To make room, the Lions waived defensive lineman JoJo Wicker.

This is the third offseason trade the Lions have made with the 49ers in as many years.

Two years ago, the Lions shipped wide receiver Jeremy Kerley to San Francisco in exchange for offensive lineman Brandon Thomas. And last year, the team sent for first-round pick Laken Tomlinson to the west coast for a future fifth-round draft pick.