The Detroit Lions are in full draft watch mode as they get set to finish the 2019 NFL season and get set to look forward to 2020.
With plenty of needs on the roster, there is suddenly no shortage of spots to watch on the team for upgrades. In terms of the biggest spots of need, who could the Lions be looking at? Now that the team is chasing a potential top five selection, some big names are beginning to enter the fray.
Recently, a new mock by Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller provided the Lions a potential good answer for plenty of their biggest problems.
Miller had the Lions picking up Derrick Brown from Auburn with the No. 6 pick coming up this spring. While there might be plenty up in the air about who the Lions will be in 2020, that doesn’t change Brown’s talent from the eyes of the evaluators.
Here’s what Miller wrote:
“Where do the Detroit Lions go from here—and who will be leading them into the future? Are head coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn safe after stumbling so far in their partnership? For now we’ll assume they are, but the next month could unravel the marriage in Detroit.
No matter who is running this show, an infusion of talent is badly needed. The Lions should be seen as a potential trade-back partner, especially if a team wants to trade up for Tua Tagovailoa, given the number of needs on the roster.
If Patricia is back, expect this to be a classic New England-style selection to bolster the lines. Auburn’s Derrick Brown is a legit top-10 player in this class with excellent power, quickness and awareness at defensive tackle. The Tigers move him all around the defensive line, and he’s been a nonstop playmaker for four seasons there.”
Brown is a player who’s statistical impact cannot be undersold or understated. In four years with the Tigers, he has put up 165 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 4 fumble recoveries. He also has 8 passes defended in college.
As a whole, those numbers are the type of thing which showcase the type of inside-out talent the Lions could crave, much like Da’Shawn Hand was a few drafts ago up front.
Recent Lions Draft Results
After a tough 6-10 finish to the 2018 season, Detroit finished with a top 10 pick at No. 8. They were able to snag tight end T.J. Hockenson, who’s been one of the offensive bright spots thus far this season. That proves overall how a painful finish can lead to some better players.
As a whole, Detroit has done a decent job in recent drafts getting talent that can compete on the roster immediately. Last season’s top three picks are playing a major role for the team this season. Names such as Taylor Decker, Kenny Golladay, Jarrad Davis, Graham Glasgow and Tracy Walker are also playing a big role for the team when they are healthy and engaged.
While there have been a few mistakes, Quinn has done a decent job to identify talent with some of the picks he has made thus far during his tenure in the Motor City. Another high pick next year could give him a chance at adding another impact player to the squad.
Should Lions Tank to Finish 2019?
The Lions are in an interesting predicament. Matthew Stafford has a painful back injury he’s fighting that might not be as debilitating long term as it initially sounded. As a result, Stafford could return in a few weeks to give the team some much needed juice, even though he probably shouldn’t. Do the Lions still have a shot at the playoffs? With three teams ahead of them in the NFC North and other contenders with better records, the hopes would seemingly on the surface be slim at this point, meaning many will contend the team should decide to tank for the chances of a better draft selection.
Detroit isn’t likely to outwardly give up on their 2019 season with the sole purpose of the 2020 draft even if it makes sense, but should the team keep losing, a higher pick is merely another advantage of some short term pain. This coming season, the Lions could use more defensive help most of all in addition to some depth at wide receiver, quarterback, running back and along the offensive line.
As it stands today, Detroit has seven picks in the 2020 draft. They added an extra fifth round selection after dealing Quandre Diggs this past trade deadline. Detroit traded a 2020 seventh round pick for Eli Harold entering the 2018 season.
The projection season is merely just beginning around the NFL, but yet another big name defender from a successful school could be seen to enter the mix in Detroit.