The 2020 NFL Draft is just over a month away, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Detroit Lions will be the third team evaluated.
For the second year under Matt Patricia the Detroit Lions finished among the bottom of the league. Even after adding veterans like Trey Flowers, Justin Coleman, and Jesse James the Lions couldn’t escape mediocrity. One of the reasons for their lackluster season was the fact that they were only able to find one starter amongst their draft picks last season, that being tight end T.J. Hockenson. Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn are being given one last shot to turn this team around and that starts with the third overall pick.
On offense, the Lions looked to take steps in the right direction under new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. With Golden Tate gone an entire year, Kenny Golladay took on the role of the teams number one receiver and thrived in the role. Golladay was a superstar for the Lions posting over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. Part of this was because of Matthew Stafford, who was on his way to a career year until getting sidelined for the season with a back injury after playing in eight games. Stafford had thrown 19 touchdowns in eight games which was two less than he had thrown for in the year prior which he started in all 16.
Defensively, the Lions disappointed once again. Trey Flowers and Darius Slay’s elite play alone was not enough to carry this defense filled with role players that are not seeming to click. Since Matt Patricia was the defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots before coming to Detroit, the defense was expected to be at an elite level. Trading away team captain and leader Quandre Diggs for a fifth-round pick did not go over well on defense or in the locker room. Diggs also played extremely well after being moved to Seattle which didn’t look good either. The Lions focused on defense early in the offseason adding former Patriot defenders Jamie Collins, Danny Shelton and Duron Harmon who played under Patricia during his time with New England. They also signed Desmond Truant and Jayron Kearse to boost production in the secondary. The Lions are going to need a boost there. Especially after trading away frustrated superstar Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles. Slay was very vocal about the fact that he wanted a fresh start away from Detroit and would not have resigned with the Lions next offseason when his contract was up.
2020 NFL Draft Picks
Detroit will have eight picks to use in the 2020 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick): No. 3
Second Round (one pick): No. 35
Third Round (two picks): No. 67, 85
Fourth Round (one pick): No. 109
Fifth Round (two picks): No. 149, 166
Sixth Round (one pick): No. 182
Seventh Round (zero picks):
Offensive Guard- After losing Graham Glasgow to the New York Jets the Lions have a huge hole in the entire of their offensive line. Even if Glasgow did not sign elsewhere the Lions should have looked to add an interior lineman in the later rounds
Cornerback- The Lions signed Desmond Truant which lead to them trading away Darius Slay. But the Lions need another top end corner to really shut down the other side of the field. Given Trufants age and injury history too, the Lions should select someone who can develop to become the Lions future number one corner.
Running back- Kerryon Johnson’s first two seasons in the league have been decimated by injuries much like the back he was drafted to replace Ameer Abdullah. The Lions should take a mid-round flier on a running back who has the potential to start or split carries with Johnson next season.
Defensive Tackle- The Lions’ deepest position group last season was defensive tackle. The Lions had two former Pro Bowlers in Damon Harrison and Mike Daniels and former second-round pick A’Shawn Robinson. All three have hit the open market and not be back on the team. Even after signing Danny Shelton the team should add a second to play next to Shelton.
Wide Receiver- The Lions secondary receivers Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola are both 30+ years old. The Lions should consider drafting a receiver to potentially take their spots in the starting line up to be the number two outside threat to Kenny Golladay.
2020 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 3: Jeffery Okudah, CB, Ohio State
What better way to replace a shutdown corner than to replace him with another shutdown corner. Drafting Okduah to pair with Desmond Truant might be the boost the Lions’ defense needs to start playing like one of the better units in the league. It is entirely possible the Lions trade out of this pick and still end up selecting Okudah wherever they end up selecting.
Pick No. 35: Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
Blacklock has a first-round grade, but could fall due to lack of need for the position around the league. Every year we see first-round talents like Blacklock fall into the second round. He could be a steal for the Lions and the combination of him and Shelton could eliminate rival teams rushing attacks.
Pick No. 67: Matt Hennessy, IOL, Temple
The offensive line is never a flashy pick, but selecting them is necessary for a team’s success. Hennessy is listed as a center, but has the versatility to move to guard which is what the Lions could ask him to do if selected by them.
Pick No. 85: Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
Cam Akers is the best running back no one is talking about. Playing for Florida State, Akers did not see much national attention, he is an extremely talented back. He might not be a day one starter, but he would be a nice compliment to Kerryon Johnson early in his career. Cam Akers has all the potential to be the ‘Devin Singletary’ of this year’s draft class and be a starting running back for a team down the road.