The Detroit Lions hold the No. 3 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and as a result, most would assume the team would have tons of needs in order to re-shape their roster into a winner.
Most have focused on Detroit’s needs on defense to this point given how poorly that unit has played, but does the offense need to be focused on in order for the team to move forward? It’s possible according to one analyst.
Recently, Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated put together a piece explaining what teams had the most at stake with the draft, and the Lions naturally made the cut. So what would represent an ideal haul for the team in order to achieve their goals? Orr thinks the offensive side of the ball should be the focus.
As he said, an ideal draft would involve the team dealing back and upgrading the offensive line as well as the wide receiver spot.
“In a perfect, Kevin-Costner-in-Draft-Day scenario, the Lions move back and help themselves at both offensive line and wide receiver, as most of their weapons are set to hit the open market in 2021. Standing pat to take Jeffrey Okudah makes sense and would fill their most immediate need, but would that truly maximize their position?”
It’s true the Lions could need help in both of those spots, but first round help? It’s more likely that the team looks in middle rounds for help at these spots given the depth at the positions. Some tackles expected to be first round picks are Tristan Wirfs and Mekhi Becton while wideout teammates Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs could see their name come off the board early on.
More than likely, the Lions will be hunting defense with their early picks, and if they add some selections in the draft via trade, could find a way to also solve some of of their offensive needs later on.
Still, many see the team as needing some improvements on the offensive side immediately in order to turn the team around in 2020.
Lions Biggest 2020 NFL Draft Need is Defensive End
Detroit could not pressure the quarterback meaningfully in 2019, something that was painfully obvious for weeks during the past season and that is a glaring problem given what the team has done to add to the front in recent months and years. Part of the problem has been injury, but beyond Trey Flowers and Da’Shawn Hand, the Lions simply don’t have any young building blocks they can count on right now. The team has to find some form of consistency in the trenches, and that is why it’s a major need for them moving forward.
Early in the draft as a result of this, the Lions would have to target some type of defensive end or pass rush specialist highly, and Chase Young would be the top option if he were there. Without a few impact players here in 2020, it’s tough to imagine the Lions turning their defensive fortunes around.
In the event Young wasn’t on the board, the Lions would likely be content to grab Jeff Okudah. While defensive end is the biggest need on the team, cornerback isn’t far behind. Detroit’s backfield has been searching in vain for another top flight cornerback for some time, and Okudah could give them just the right mix at the spot. Defensive tackle Derrick Brown and linebacker Isaiah Simmons figure to get in the mix as well.
Whether Okudah, Young, Brown or Simmons the Lions could score with most defenders they would look at given the needs of their team. As a result of this, defense could be on the menu most of all, and offense could be chosen for later upgrades.
Lions Have Multiple 2020 Draft Picks
Detroit has traded away a pick, but also acquired a few selections within their move to trade Darius Slay. Now that the Lions have those picks, and have gained a selection in their deal for Duron Harmon, the Lions are now up to 9 selections for this year’s draft, including an extra third rounder.
The Lions got back a seventh round selection in the Harmon trade, but did deal away a fifth round pick. They got back a fifth round selection in the move to trade for Slay.
This could merely be a start for the Lions, however. If the team is able to trade back from the No. 3 selection, this haul might only improve in the future. Adding more picks could give the team more crack in order to have a better chance at a bigger draft.
If the Lions have more picks, the chances go up that they could theoretically draft offense and add to that group.