The Detroit Lions continue to sign their 2020 draft class slowly but surely, and their latest addition is a key player for the team’s offensive fortunes in the future.
Detroit signed Jonah Jackson to his rookie contract this week, and the lineman will join fellow rookie Logan Stenberg as offensive players who are under contract for the team.
Jackson, an Ohio State product following a transfer from Rutgers, was a selection in round 3 of the draft. The Lions traded up to get him and are prioritizing him as a player to build around for their future up front.
Jonah Jackson Called Lions Draft Steal
Detroit might have been able to steal multiple players along the way as they set out to craft their roster in the draft. Pro Football Focus took a look at naming the biggest steals in the entire draft, and the site credited the Lions with finding a pair this year, more than any other team in the NFL at this point.
The first steal they identified was Julian Okwara, an edge rusher that PFF was extremely high on as the No. 28 overall player on their board Detroit got at pick 63. Here’s what Anthony Treash wrote:
“Although he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 11 this past year, there’s no reason Okwara should have been available in the third round. With his explosiveness off the line, overall athleticism and long arms, Okwara was a first-round talent in this draft. Prior to getting hurt, Okwara was having one of the top seasons in college football at his position by owning an elite 90.4 pass-rush grade.”
From there, the Lions didn’t have to wait long to find their next steal. They traded up to get him in Jackson, a player credited as one of the best pass defending guards in the draft and PFF’s 40th rated player. The Lions scored him with pick 75.
“No one in this draft class has better pass sets than Jonah Jackson. He gets on defensive linemen rapidly and can play anywhere along the interior. While playing for Rutgers and Ohio State the past few years, Jackson logged snaps at every interior position and performed incredibly well in pass protection, recording a pass-blocking grade on true pass sets above the 90th percentile. He’s the best pass-protecting interior lineman in this class.”
Obviously, the Lions hope these players, along with the others they selected, help infuse some much needed talent on their team. If they end up getting better in the years ahead as a result of these players, it will only merely prove the point they were perhaps a bit underrated.
Lions 2020 Draft Class
The Lions had a busy weekend, picking up cornerback Jeff Okudah, running back D’Andre Swift, guard Jonah Jackson, edge rusher Julian Okwara, guard Logan Stenberg, wideout Quintez Cephus, running back Jason Huntley, defensive tackle John Penisini and defensive lineman Jashon Cornell. As a whole, the draft class was solid in plenty of ways. Detroit addressed some of their biggest needs including a new cornerback as well as toughness on the offensive and defensive lines. They also added a potentially elite runner in Swift.
Many have graded the draft highly as a result, and it looks as if the Lions may have even found a few steals along the way to help them out as well. They might have scored one of the best classes in the league as a result.
Now, Jackson joins Penisini, Stenberg and Okwara as players officially in the mix for 2020.