NFL Analyst Bashes Lions For Potential 2020 UDFA Approach

Zach Zenner

Getty Former Lions UDFA Zach Zenner runs against the Packers.

The NFL landscape has changed plenty heading into the 2020 NFL Draft considering the coronavirus, and that could mean a big change to how teams do business this offseason.

Speaking recently, Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn was asked about the impact on the potentially shortened offseason, and as he explained, it’s possible the team will not be adding as many undrafted free agents as they normally do. Quinn admitted that the team might only sign a handful of undrafted free agents. That would be down from the usual 10-15 players the team looks to sign. analyst Bucky Brooks saw this, and admittedly had a strong opinion, saying that it would be a mistake for the team and their management to take this approach.

It will be interesting to see if others take Quinn’s approach, given the fact the NFL offseason figures to be truncated. Teams won’t be likely to be able to have actual practices with their rookies right off the bat thanks to the uncertainty created by the coronavirus, and might find complete analysis of players tougher. Still, it’s easy to see Brooks’ point. Regardless of whether the players make the team in the end, the Lions might be wise to get a closer look at those players to see what they’ve got.

Saturday after the draft, everyone will simply have to see what happens from the Detroit perspective. No matter the size of the class, whomever the Lions pick up will have a chance to make an impression on the team.

Lions Best Undrafted Free Agent Signings

Through the years, the Lions have not been shy about signing undrafted free agents to the roster, and plenty of those players have gone on to solid careers in Detroit. Names such as James Hall, LaAdrian Waddle, Zach Zenner, Joseph Fauria and Kellen Moore have all gone on to make the team. Last season, Beau Benzschawel, C.J. Moore and Kevin Strong all made the team. The UDFA market has typically helped the Lions fill out their team with depth and provided several difference makers through the years. Some stick on the team’s practice squad and help with the week to week preparation and crack the roster at other times.

Detroit’s 2020 class might be smaller in scope, but even if it is, the team will have a chance to score some important players for their roster moving forward.

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.

The more picks the Lions have, possibly the less free agents they will be tempted to sign after the draft.

Lions Biggest 2020 NFL Draft Need is Defensive End

Detroit cannot pressure the quarterback meaningfully in 2019, something that has been painfully obvious for weeks 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.

If the draft were held today, the Lions would have to target some type of defensive end or pass rush specialist highly, and Chase Young would be the top option. Players like Derrick Brown, Jeffrey Okudah and Isaiah Simmons could also be considered.

Obviously, whomever the pick is, the Lions are going to have to knock every round out of the draft in order to give themselves the best chance at winning in 2020. If the Lions can mine some UDFA gold no matter how many players they add, it would be huge for them.

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