The Detroit Lions finished last in the NFC North for a second straight year in 2019. Matthew Stafford got off to a strong season, but was sidelined by a back injury after eight weeks. That dealt a major blow to the Lions’ offensive upside.
The Lions’ defense kept them out of a lot of games last season, but they’re striving to get better on that side of the ball moving forward. They have work to do after trading cornerback Darius Slay to the Eagles. The offensive line also needs work, despite Halapoulivaati Vaitai signing a five-year, $50 million deal.
2020 Draft Picks
Round 1, pick 3 (No. 3 overall): Jeffery Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Round 2, pick 3 (No. 35 overall): D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia
Round 3, pick 3 (No. 67 overall): Julian Okwara, LB, Notre Dame
Round 3, pick 11 (No. 75 overall): Jonah Jackson, OG, Ohio State
Round 4, pick 15 (No. 121 overall): Logan Stenberg, OG, Kentucky
Round 5, pick 21 (No. 166 overall): Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin
Round 5, pick 27 (No. 172 overall): Jason Huntley, RB, New Mexico State
Round 6, pick 18 (No. 197 overall): John Penisini, DT, Utah
Round 7, pick 21 (No. 235 overall): Jashon Cornell, DE, Ohio State
The Denver Broncos poached Detroit’s right guard, Graham Glasgow. Vaitai is expected to play right tackle, which leaves Casey Tucker as the Lions’ only right tackle. Tucker was a rookie last season and didn’t play in a single game. Stepping into the starting lineup could be difficult given his NFL experience. That doesn’t mean he can’t bounce back in 2020, but Detroit needs to explore finding more options for if he isn’t ready in year two.
Detroit fielded what was arguably the NFL’s worst pass defense last season and is making serious efforts to upgrade its secondary. It did that by signing Desmond Trufant, but more needs to be done in order to make major improvements. The Lions were also second to last in team sacks (28) in 2019, so their defensive line could use some work as well.
Dream first pick
The Lions will almost certainly draft Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah with the third pick in the draft. He is the top rated cornerback in his class. Whether he’s worth selecting so early in the first round remains to be seen, but he’s the target best suited for what Detroit wants to do on the defensive end.