Going into the 2020 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions had one of the most enticing picks of the 1st round. With pick #3 and no real need for a new franchise QB (although I'd happily argue otherwise), it became clear that the Lions should trade back knowing their guys, Derrick Brown and/or Jeff Okudah, would still be there at picks #5 or #6. However, thanks to Bob Quinn not even attempting to bluff that he was going to take a QB, no one ended up offering him a trade. The Lions took Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah with the #3 pick, as many expected, making it the highest a CB had been picked in the NFL Draft since Shawn Springs in 1998. I have nothing against Okudah, but Bob Quinn messed this pick up for weeks by not even giving the impression they were interested in a QB to groom under Stafford. He should have made it almost too obvious that he wanted Tua or Herbert so that he could add more picks in the first couple of rounds. And if no one believed him, he should have drafted Tua anyways and then trade him to the team that took Okduah for more picks. Bob Quinn stating how there were no official offers and that other “pundits” don’t understand how to look at rosters like other teams was a very poor statement and reflect that he didn’t do his job properly. However, the rest of the draft, he actually did a decent job for once in at least attempting to fill team needs, something rarely said after a Detroit Lions draft.
1. #3, Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Look, by all accounts, Okudah will become a shutdown corner in the NFL for years to come. The size, speed, and overall range on the field are a scouts dream and there’s a good reason he was going to be a Top 10 pick. Plus, he is expected to start right away. Whether that be at the #1 or #2 spot remains to be seen. The problem is the value of the pick. Anything less than becoming a Top 5-10 corner in the league is not going to help Jeff Okudah. We’ve seen the Lions reach for Top 10 picks way too much over the years. Eric Ebron, TJ Hockenson and all those WRs from the Matt Millen era all were picked Top 10, and fair or not had massive expectations they never lived up to. That’s the danger of taking a corner at #3 and a reason to be skeptical. However, he does still fill a giant need and the potential is clearly there to be a great player for the Lions.
2. #35, D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
I know there will be a few fans who hate this pick, but this may be my favorite pick of the draft. I understand there was much more of a need elsewhere other than at RB, but the Lions still don’t have a reliable run game after all these resources spent on the OL and at RB. Kerryon Johnson continues to show great potential but has had trouble staying healthy. RB is the most fragile position in the NFL and it’s a big reason as to why teams load up on more than one. Swift never should have even been there at #35. Adding him gives you more depth and more talent on offense which can never be overlooked. He’s an explosive back who can play all three-downs, in case Kerryon isn’t working out, can catch passes out of the backfield and, maybe the most important part, had less than 500 carries in college meaning he should be fresher in the long run. Kerryon and Swift could very well become the next great 1A and 1B RB duo in the NFL.
3. #67 Julian Okwara, EDGE, Notre Dame
I don’t mind this pick at all. Do I think he can become a Pro Bowl EDGE guy? No, I don’t. But the athleticism and size are certainly there for Okwara to develop into a nice, consistent player. The worry with him is now going up against NFL O-Lines because there were times where he couldn’t even bull rush College O-Lines (go watch the Michigan tape). I think he’s more of a project but clearly the tools are there to succeed. The scare for me is it comes down to coaching now. That’s right, Okwara’s future is in Matt Patricia’s hands.
4. #75 Jonah Jackson, OG, Ohio State
He’s big, physical and can offer the Lions multiple options at both the C and G positions if need be. The problem I had with the pick is the fact they traded up for a guy who not only would have probably been there at #87, but struggles mightily in run blocking. Even after all these years of Bob Quinn and the resources put into the running game, it’s still below average at best. He certainly can pass block and does a nice job of picking up and adjusting to blitzes, but I am a little confused after reading more on Jackson’s game. But hey, it fills a need, right? Once again it comes down to coaching. *gulp*
5. #121 Logan Stenberg, OG, Kentucky
Going back-to-back guards helped answer a pretty big question as to who the OL starters will become Week 1, and the answer is a mix of everyone. You may say, what? Well, the plan as I see it is to find the best mix for both passing and running among every guard, every tackle, and even the centers. Find out who fits best where and in what situations and schemes. I don’t mind the strategy at all, I do mind that it’ll be Matt Patricia trying to figure it out. Honestly, I like Stenberg more than Jackson. The biggest knock on him is his strength is nowhere near NFL ready, which is easily fixable after a few months, or maybe a year, in an NFL locker room. He may not be ready to go in 2020, but in the long run, I expect him to be better than Jackson. He also is MUCH better in run blocking, opposite of Jackson, which again plays into the mix-and-match OL strategy. Yes, I saw the stat that said he allowed 0 sacks a year ago, but guys, Kentucky had a WR at QB in Lynn Bowden, not exactly running anything close to an NFL offense. Stenberg is my early sleeper to start come Week 1.
6. #166 Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin
I’ll admit, I wanted to avoid Cephus ever since I saw his 40 times at the NFL Combine (No I don’t believe his Wisconsin pro day 40 time as pro days exist to hype up their school's prospects). I don’t care how smart or good he is at running routes. Speed is the name of the game in the NFL, especially for 99% of WR's. Name me