The clock is ticking down to the 2020 NFL Draft, and the Detroit Lions are likely getting close to figuring out who’s atop their draft board when all is said and done.
For a few weeks, it’s been assumed that the team would have intense interest in cornerback Jeffrey Okudah. Other names such as defensive tackle Derrick Brown have also surfaced. Regardless, defense does figure to be the biggest need the team looks to solve and another interesting name could be in the mix for Detroit.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, while the Lions are doing their diligence on a trade, it’s because they wish to try and get a solid return, plus score an impact player such as Okudah or Isaiah Simmons perhaps a few picks down the board.
Recently, Breer provided a nugget about where the Lions are leaning with their pick, and hinted with his name drop that the team could be looking at another solid player near the top of the draft in Simmons.
“Word’s been persistent that the Lions want to move the third pick. And it’s not that they don’t like the players there. More so, it’s that they’d like, say, Okudah or Isaiah Simmons at No. 5 or 6 with a few more picks to use down the line. It was pointed out to me that Lions GM Bob Quinn, over 21 NFL seasons, has never been with a team holding a top five pick. So his comfort level with moving down would be understandable, as would his desire to maximize the kind of asset he’s never had.
We’ve said that Simmons would be great in a Patriots-type of defense, and that makes the run of teams at No. 3, 4 and 5—all of which run New England defenses—a very interesting one.”
Simmons is an interesting player for the Lions given the hybrid role he could play in a multitude of spots for the team. That’s just what could make him a major target for the team when all is said and done, and why he could be a dark horse player to remember while most focus on Okudah and Brown as potential additions.
Detroit might have to wait anxiously if they like Simmons given the fact that there could be potential obstacles just behind them in the draft if they do elect to trade down.
Isaiah Simmons’ Fit With Lions
Simmons was one of the most impressive players on the field all night long even in Clemson’s eventual defeat back in January. Simmons finished with 7 total tackles, 1 sack, 2 passes defended and 2 tackles for loss. The prospect has been a hot name on draft boards, but he will remain red hot after his performance during the NFL Combine. A team in bad need of defense like the Lions have to be interested in considering getting Simmons into the lineup.
At times, Simmons has done a bit of everything this season. The snaps he has taken in multiple spots show a player who can do a little bit of everything on the football field. Simmons remains an athletic freak of nature that might not have a clear position, and that’s exactly why he should appeal to the Lions.
Detroit needs football players in a big way, especially on defense, regardless of fit. If Simmons is the best football player, he should be in the mix to be selected as a versatile weapon for the team that could be a matchup nightmare for the team’s defense.
The Lions might have more pressing needs at certain spots, but Simmons is an intriguing prospect to remember. Passing on him could be dangerous, as he showed the goods toward being the next big thing in the NFL.
At the very least, Detroit’s eyes have now been opened wide to the possibility and they could be considering him high in the draft.
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, Bob 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 gives him a chance at adding another impact player to the squad.
Someone like Simmons could be the perfect addition for the Lions considering all they need on defense for 2020.
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 if he were there. He’s not likely to be on the board when the team picks, meaning Simmons could be an interesting option. 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 Jeffrey 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.
Obviously, the Lions have plenty of options with the No. 3 pick in the draft, and Simmons could be yet another name to remember for the team.