The Detroit Lions are making the trenches a huge focus of the 2021 NFL Draft, and their first pick of day two displayed that once again.
In spite of some other needs on offense and defense, the Lions elected to draft defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike out of Washington. While defensive line might not look like the biggest need after some of the moves the team has made this offseason, the point stands that Detroit’s front needs some help and they might have found a good way to get it.
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According to former NFL quarterback turned analyst Chris Simms, the Lions draft is simply looking better and better with the selection of Onwuzurike after Penei Sewell. As he put it bluntly, the Lions are loading up on guys who can kick some butt in the trenches.
— Chris Simms (@CSimmsQB) April 30, 2021
Entering into the draft, Simms had Onwurzurike as his top defensive tackle in the draft and for good reason. As he said, the Lions are getting a player who is light on his feet and is also tough and can play bigger and develop into a good threat up front.
As former NFL general manager Mike Tannenbaum wrote Onwurzurike has all the tools to develop into a great player at the position for Detroit.
Levi Onwuzurike (@LeviOnw) is light on his feet but heavy with his hands, and that combination should lead to continued improvement as an NFL pass rusher
Slightly undersized for the position but, Onwuzurike makes up for it with a terrific anchor along the interior https://t.co/UCR4kes17z
— Mike Tannenbaum (@RealTannenbaum) April 30, 2021
Obviously, there will be some maturing to be done, but the Lions likely feel as if they are the ones to unlock the potential to kick some of that behind in the end.
Onwuzurike Stats and Highlights
The Lions needed some major help in the trenches and Onwurzurike can theoretically provide it. He collected 95 tackles in his time in college to go with 16 tackles for-loss and 7 sacks. Onwurzurike opted out of the 2020 season, but he showed well in 2019 when he last played. Teams looking to draft Onwuzurike were likely looking at his ability to be physical and tough in the trenches and develop into a great player in the middle.
In Detroit, Onwuzurike can be expected to fit in well with Michael Brockers and the team’s front at tackle. A look at the tape shows the kind of twitch and athleticism that folks love.
The Lions hope he can develop into a stud up front for the team as many expect.
Lions Positions of Need Leading Into Day 2
Detroit is still wide open for the most part after selecting Penei Sewell in the 2021 NFL Draft and even after Onwuzurike. Sewell’s addition combined with the other pieces the team has likely will prevent another offensive lineman from being drafted and Detroit probably won’t look at tackle, but there are spots of major need on the offensive side at wideout and perhaps quarterback the team could think about addressing. On the defensive side of the ball, there is some heavy lifting to be done at linebacker, edge, cornerback and perhaps even safety.
No matter whether it was offense or defense, the Lions were always going to have a good chance to fill this need quickly on Friday. Now, as the rest of the weekend rolls on, look for them to continue to attack these needs confidently.
So far, the team seems to be off to a good start in the minds of many league experts.
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