Lions ‘Torn’ Between 3 Players in NFL Draft, Analyst Says

Derrick Brown

Getty Derrick Brown playing against Minnesota.

The NFL Draft is coming soon, and the Detroit Lions have a decision to make not only involving a potential trade, but which player they will select no matter what happens.

Who is in the running for that distinction? While the team could look on the surface like they are wide open, reality says that the Lions are likely more interested in a defensive player, and it’s possible there are multiple names they are deciding between.

According to CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora, the Lions are torn with what to do when they pick, but on the menu could be a trio of defenders. Cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, defensive lineman Derrick Brown and linebacker Isaiah Simmons are all in the mix for the team according to La Canfora’s latest report.

Regarding the Lions decision, he said:

“The Lions are torn, league sources said, between simply taking Okudah or addressing the point of attack with Derrick Brown or Isaiah Simmons. But more than anything else, this franchise is motivated to trade down – within reason – and still be in position to draft an impact player on defense. But who will trade up?”

Finding a trade partner will be the issue to watch, but theoretically, any of the players could be on the board if the Lions were to move back modestly in the draft a few places. In the end, it will likely boil down to what Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia perceive as the biggest need for the roster.

Detroit still could use a top cornerback, help up front and a versatile player like Simmons could be an intriguing addition for their defense. It seems there could be a strong debate for any of the group. In the end, the Lions will simply have to choose the player they think fits the best.

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 during the title game. 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.

Jeffrey Okudah Stats

Okudah could be the best player on the board when the Lions end up picking at No. 3. As also explained elsewhere, evaluators love his length and size. It could be a winning combination for a needy Detroit pass defense that has been exposed in a major way this season on the back end.

At Ohio State, Okudah has put up some excellent numbers in a short time. He’s collected 78 tackles, 3 interceptions, 16 passes defended and 2 fumble recoveries. Perhaps better than that for the Lions, he didn’t allow a completion over 50 yards this season.

That paints the portrait of a player who can be a potential lock down defender at the next level. Okudah has also been a popular selection in mock drafts for Detroit, and a player many have seen as a potential lock fit for the team.

Derrick Brown Could Become Surprising Lions Selection

According to veteran Detroit News writer Bob Wojnowski, the Lions are going to have a surprise in store for everyone when they pick. That surprise? The selection of defensive tackle Derrick Brown from Auburn, who Wojnowski says the team will select. As to why, he admits he is simply connecting the dots as to what he thinks the team will do when all is said and done.

Brown, who had a big finish to his season with the Tigers, figures to be one of the top players at No. 3. Detroit’s line has been close to the basement of the league in terms of getting after the quarterback and stopping the run. Who better to come in and remedy that than a guy like Brown. He would immediately be an upgrade for the Lions up front and is one of the most dynamic interior linemen set to be drafted in 2020.

Whatever the decision ends up being, it’s clear the Lions are grappling with plenty of choices, all of which could be designed to help out their defense.

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