Perfect Picks: Detroit Lions
Continuing our ‘Perfect Picks’ series we turn our attention to the Detroit Lions. Matt Patricia’s second year saw the Lions take a step backward, in part due to franchise QB Matt Stafford missing time through injury.
A 3-13 finish means the Lions get the third pick in 2020 Draft. With it the opportunity to add high-end prospects to a roster in need of an injection of talent. Patricia survived the chop this offseason but significant strides need to be made for him to escape the hot seat. Let’s take a look at some of the draft talent that could help return the Lions to playoff contention.
Round 1 - Pick 3 - Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Plenty was made of the Lions targeting cornerback in last year’s draft. Despite being linked with the position in the first round the feeling was drafting a corner high would send the wrong message to playmaker Darius Slay. His declining form and with Rashaan Melvin set to hit free agency means the Lions may not be able to ignore the spot any longer.
Fortunately the third pick should give them a shot at Ohio State product Jeffrey Okudah. The Buckeyes have a history of producing excellent cornerbacks. First rounders Denzel Ward and Marshon Lattimore are prime examples. Okudah is equally talented. Ultra-smooth, quick and with big play ability, he would give the Lions an enviable corner duo. A trade is a possibility and would command plenty of draft capital but Okudah could be too good to pass on.
Round 2 - Pick 35 - KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
Kenny Golloday has been a revelation for the Detroit Lions. However, the rest of the receiving corps is yet to take flight. Marvin Jones has been reliable but hits the last year of his deal in 2020. Matthew Stafford’s arm talent dictates that he deserves more weapons at his disposal. In a passing league having someone as talented as Stafford shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Danny Amendola was brought across from the Pats to be the underneath target from the slot. Having underwhelmed he is set to hit free agency this spring. KJ Hamler might be seen as a bit of a reach here but makes a lot of sense. He adds a different dimension to the attack and could be a riser purely down to his speed. Should Hamler impress in testing, his stock could soar. Possessing speed to take the top of defences as well as being dynamic after the catch, he would be a great juxtaposition to Golloday.
Flex Pick - Pick 35 - Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama
The Lions brought Trey Flowers in as a high profile free agent last year. Flowers was the joint sack leader with Devon Kennard, notching seven QB takedowns. Other than that Detroit still lack a consistent threat from the other side. While Flowers offers power and the ability to drop inside, the Lions may use their second rounder to target a true speed edge rusher.
Alabama’s Terrell Lewis brings that burst off the edge. Lewis never quite met the potential he promised in his time in Tuscaloosa, mainly down to injury. He has a fantastic frame that offers a nice mix of speed and power. He would fit the Jack linebacker spot the Lions deploy Davon Kennard in. Lewis can play with his hand in the dirt or as a stand-up rusher and while coverage isn’t his strong point he can survive dropping back. Early in his NFL career, he would likely be told to go get the QB, something the Lions struggled with last year.
Mid Round Gem - Pick 99 - Marlon Davidson, Defensive Line, Auburn
Damon Harrison’s well documented consideration of retirement and A’Shawn Robinson’s impending free agency bring question marks over the Lions interior defensive line. While a nose tackle may take priority any reinforcements would be welcome. Targeting a player like Davidson would add an element of pass rush up the gut.
Davidson was part of an elite defensive front at Auburn. Despite having to play second fiddle to the dominant Derrick Brown, Davidson still flashed plenty of talent. Deployed primarily as an edge rusher for the Tigers, it was a shock to see him weigh in at 297lbs at the Senior Bowl. That suggests his home in the NFL will be on the inside. His ability to shed blocks and chase down the QB from anywhere on the line is a major plus. Patricia, a Belichick disciple, will likely be drawn to players with such position versatility.
Marlon Davidson vs Terence Steele pic.twitter.com/HjEtsqy3Sd— Billy M (@BillyM_91) January 22, 2020
Late Round Sleeper - Pick 154 - Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
In what turned out to be a defensive heavy draft, Akeem Davis-Gaither was a steal with the sixth round pick here. The Lions have plenty of linebacking options but Davis-Gaither’s offers them something they don’t have. Gaither’s athleticism make him somewhat of a safety/linebacker hybrid.
Davis-Gaither’s slight frame of 215lbs doesn’t hinder him in any sense. He is an aggressive tackler who uses his speed to locate the ball carrier quickly. It also benefits his game in terms of coverage ability. He will be considered one of the better coverage linebackers in this class. Something that could see him go substantially earlier than where the Lions get him here.
Draft in full
3. Jeffrey Okudah (CB)
35. KJ Hamler (WR)
67. Netane Muti (G)
99. Marlon Davidson (DL)
131. Trevon Hill (Edge)
154. Akeem Davis-Gaither (LB)
162. Myles Bryant (CB)
formerly writing for the inside zone, rory will be breaking down college tape and keeping you up-to-date with all things CFB for the touchdown. an avid bengals fan, you can also find some of rory’s work at stripehype.c