With the 2020 NFL draft approaching fast, it is time for teams to start planning on who they want to draft with their picks. Some teams have more picks and some teams have less so it’s all going to decide on how the teams’ front office can work with what they have. The Detroit Lions are in a great spot, having eight picks and even holding the third overall pick in the first round. With that being said, let us move onto the first draft need for the Detroit Lions.
With the Lions sending their top corner Darius Slay Jr. to the Philadelphia Eagles, this becomes a major concern for the team who’s secondary struggled behind Slay. They are projected to use their first-round pick on a corner so let’s hope that is the case in this situation.
Jeffrey Okudah – Ohio State University
Okudah has made his presence known on the field notching 34 combined tackles, one tackle for loss, nine passes defended, and three interceptions. He has what it takes to become an elite corner in the NFL if he can prove that he hasn’t reached his ceiling just yet.
Okudah plays great in man coverage, but can also be terrific in zone coverage, so if the Lions defensive backs coach can teach him into what Slay was, he can help bring this defense back to normal.
C.J. Henderson – University of Florida
Henderson is a player that may not be drafted as early as Okudah and could fall to the second round if the Lions decided not to draft at this position in the first round. He is a great player who loves the game and devotes every ounce of sweat in his body to produce at a high level in this sport. In 2019, Henderson managed to get 33 combined tackles, three tackles for loss, 11 passes defended and one sack. And although he didn’t get and interceptions he has six in his three years of college.
With the recent acquisition of free-agent linebacker Jamie Collins, this is not as big of a need as the cornerback position. But other than Collins this position does need help that will be taken in any way it can get. Linebackers are like the leaders of the defense, they can help the defensive lineman stop the run from developing, while also patrolling the back half of the field in pass coverage. Here are some of the best options for the Detroit Lions to take in the draft.
Isaiah Simmons – Clemson
Simmons is definitely a big impact player who can cover sideline to sideline at a high rate of play. He always knows where the ball is and makes sure he is there to stop the play whenever he can. Simmons logged 104 combined tackles in 2019, along with 16.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and three interceptions. For a linebacker, those numbers are huge, and will definitely be noticed by scouting teams.
Kenneth Murray – Oklahoma
Murray is a very talented player, but he won’t fall out of the first round. And if the Lions decide to take him at pick three, they better have the rest of their picks planned out because he isn’t worth the risk. Murray is very talented don’t get me wrong. But he doesn’t have the “top 3” instincts to be drafted super early. So unless he manages to drop to round two, they should look at him as a player to grab if they trade back and Simmons goes off the board. In 2019 Murray got 102 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and four sacks. Which is great numbers, but not if there is a better player still on the board at pick three.
The offensive line is a position where there is never too much depth, and with the Lions poor lack of depth at this position, it seems like this would be a good option to go for in the draft. The offensive line is like a team’s first line of defense on offense, if they start to go down, the whole team will go down with it.
Mekhi Becton – Louisville
Becton turned heads at the 2020 NFL combine. A big-bodied guy with all the right attributes, but for a man who is 6’7 368 lbs, what really stood out was his 5.10 40 time. He is definitely a player who is going top 10 and should be looked at closely by the team’s scouts to help fix the need. In his whole collegiate career, Becton only allowed 4 sacks on 2,300 snaps.
Jedrick Wills Jr. – Alabama
Wills is another talented offensive lineman who can just about everything Becton can. He isn’t as big, (6’4 312 lbs), but that only means he is more mobile during games. Wills only allowed one sack in 2018, Wills carried his high rate of play into an awesome 2019 season at Alabama.
Having the third overall pick puts a lot of pressure on the Detroit Lions. But if they use it wisely, they can potentially grab a player who will help make the team a force in the NFL. And while they still need a lot of help, they have the draft capital to do so. And if spent right, they could have one of the best draft classes in the 2020 NFL draft.
Who do you feel is a need for the Detroit Lions in the 2020 NFL Draft? Leave a comment below.
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