Dale Money | February 22nd, 2020
The Detroit Lions began the season off with plenty of promise, starting out the season 2-1-1. After the controversial week five loss to divisional rival Green Bay, they were not able to recover. They would only be able to muster up just the one lone victory after that in week eight, finishing the season 3-13.
With the final completion of the regular season, the Lions were awarded the third pick in the draft. The last time they had the third overall choice was 18 years ago when they selected Joey Harrington out of Oregon. There will be plenty of work to do in the offseason, on both sides of the ball. Specifically at wide receiver, defensive line, linebacker, and corner.
Not only will they have to try picking up a suitable backup quarterback in free agency. But will also need to draft a future replacement, for Matthew Stafford. They also need to try and replenish their receiving corps, with some more young talent. Which will most likely need to be done through the draft.
Let’s take a look at some of the Lions needs heading into April, and project what they might decide to do with their selections. To help with this mock draft, I used the Fanspeak mock draft simulator.
Make sure to check out all of our other NFL team mock drafts here.
Round 1, Pick 3: Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Detroit has a number of positions in which to focus on in the draft. However, theirs no question the most pressing need would be in the defensive backfield. Enter Okudah who is easily the top corner in the draft and was a key player of that top-ranked Buckeyes defense, leading the team in interceptions. Okudah has everything you can ask for in a defensive back and would be a great piece to add to a rebuilding secondary
Round 2, Pick 35: Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
With all the problems the Lions had, after the injury to long-time starter Stafford, the time to go after a future replacement has come. Eason would be a solid choice in the second round. At 6-foot-6 and 227 pounds, Eason has really good size for an NFL quarterback along with the powerful arm in which to get the football downfield and hit those deep receivers with the proper accuracy needed.
Round 3, Pick 67: Jordan Elliott, DL, Missouri
A lot was expected of Detroit’s defense last season, after shelling out 90 million dollars to bring defensive end, Trey Flowers, over from New England. Flowers was meant to solidify the defensive line and help improve the pass rush. Instead, the Lions would finish dead last in passing yards allowed and second last in sacks. Standing at 6’4″ and weighing over 300 pounds, Elliott is a mountain of a man with some of the larger hands in the draft, which he used to routinely brush aside opposing offensive lineman at Mizzou. Although he has plenty of upside, there is plenty of room for growth. 2019 was the first season that Elliott was a full time starter.
Round 4, Pick 109: Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
With such a deep class of wide receivers in the 2020 draft, it gives Detroit the opportunity to fill some of their other pressing needs, while still enabling them to grab themselves a high-quality wideout. Johnson is a superb route runner, along with good hands in which to make those tough grabs. Probably will never become that franchise receiver, but he could certainly become a solid option for the team.
Round 5, Pick 150: Jon Runyan Jr, G, Michigan
Graham Glasgow is expected to hit free agency, as his rookie contract will expire next month. Runyan has the NFL genes, his father played 13 seasons in the league as an offensive tackle. A fifth year senior, Runyan Jr. appeared in 13 games at left tackle last season, starting in 12 of them. He was honored with first-team All-Big 10, in back to back years and was also a winner of the Hugh H. Rader award for the top offensive lineman on the team. Has pretty good size at 6’5″ and weighing in at 321 pounds.
Round 5, Pick 173: Zack Moss, RB, Utah
Kerryon Johnson was drafted by the Lions, finally giving the team a running back they can count on year in year out. However, he just hasn’t been able to shake the nagging injuries, in his two seasons with the club, having missed 14 of 32 games. After the loss of Johnson in week four, the Lions would try out a mish-mosh of running backs as a suitable replacement including rookie Bo Scarbrough and Ty Johnson. Scarbrough played relatively well in his time as the starter but did not top 100 yards once.
I expect they will be proactive and look to try adding another tail back, in hopes of finally solidifying the position. Moss could be the answer their looking for. A three year starter with the Utes, Moss would top 1,000 yards rushing in each of those seasons. Moss led the Pac-12 Conference, in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns last season.
Round 6, Pick 182: Cameron Brown, LB, Penn State
Known for his tackling, Brown can lay the punishment on an opposing player like nobody’s business. Brown broke his personal best for tackles in a season in 2019 with 72 total tackles. He is also a very talented run defender, has superb burst in the open field. The main drawback might be that he doesn’t have great size for a linebacker, weighing just a tick over 230 pounds. However, there are plenty of positives to appreciate about Brown, that he is worth taking a risk on in the sixth round.
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