The 2020 NFL Draft starts on Thursday, April 23. As a lead up to the draft, we’ll be giving a team-by-team breakdown for positional needs. For each team, we’ll give an overview of each team’s current depth chart and how big of a need each position in the upcoming draft. Find all teams and the rest of our draft content in our NFL Draft Hub.
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Detroit Lions 2020 Draft Picks Overview
Round 1 (3)
Round 2 (35)
Round 3 (67)
Round 3 (85)
Round 4 (109)
Round 5 (149)
Round 5 (166)
Round 6 (182)
Round 7 (235)
Detroit Lions Offense
by Rich Hribar
2019 Detroit Lions Offensive Ranks
*denotes new addition
Stafford was averaging a career-high 8.6 yards per pass attempt and a career-high 6.5% touchdown rate prior to missing the final eight games last season due to a back injury. He enters 2020 at age-32 while he’s signed through the 2023 season. The team brought in Chase Daniel behind him after their quarterback depth was horrendous after Stafford was lost a year ago.
Kerryon Johnson enters his third season missing six and eight games over his first two seasons. The Lions should be expected to add more insurance or a compliment to Johnson after last season’s exposure to their depth chart. Scarborough (4.2 yards per touch and a minuscule 1.3 yards per target in the passing game), Ty Johnson (4.4 yards per touch and 3.5 yards per target), and Carson (2.8 yards per touch) are all replaceable commodities at the position.
2017 third-round pick Kenny Golladay has been a big hit, improving every season of his career. He led the NFL with 11 touchdown receptions in 2019 while averaging a robust 18.3 yards per catch. He enters the 2020 season in the final season of his rookie contract.
Marvin Jones will be 30-years-old this season and also in the final season of his contract while both Danny Amendola and Geronimo Allison each also have deals expiring after the upcoming season. The Lions should be expected to try to retain Golladay long term, but there is a lot of future rollover coming from this receiver group.
The Lions used the eighth overall pick on Hockenson a year ago, with the rookie catching 32 passes for 367 yards (11.5 Y/R) and two touchdowns in 12 games played. Jesse James signed a four-year contract last offseason. With the top of their tight end depth chart in order, the Lions would only take a tight end for depth in the latter portion of the draft if looking in that direction.
LT: Taylor Decker/Tyrell Crosby/Casey Tucker
LG: Joe Dahl/Kenny Wiggins
C: Frank Ragnow/Beau Benzschawel/ Russell Bodine
RG: Oday Aboushi/Josh Garnett/Caleb Benenoch
RT: Halapoulivaati Vaitai*/ Dan Skipper/ Matt Nelson
The Lions lost the right side of their offensive line this offseason with both Graham Glasgow and Rick Wagner signing elsewhere. Detroit went out and added Vaitai this offseason to replace Wagner, who is strong in the run game, but a below-average tackle in pass protection. Across from him at left tackle, Decker is playing on the fifth-year option in 2020.
Veteran backup right guard Oday Aboushi is only under contract for this season. With Glasgow leaving via free agency this offseason, right guard is a hole to fill while Detroit may add another tackle to their depth in the event that Decker isn’t retained beyond this season.
Detroit Lions Defense
by Dan Pizzuta
2019 Detroit Lions Defensive Ranks
interior defensive line
Kevin Strong Jr.
Detroit moved on from Damon Harrison, who had a down year in 2019 after being one of the best run-stuff tackles in football over the past few seasons. As a replacement, Danny Shelton was one part of the “what if we made the whole defense out of ex-Patriots” plan from this offseason. Shelton had a good year with the Patriots after his first seasons with the Cleveland Browns were nothing special.
The Lions also brought in Nick Williams, who had a breakout season for the Bears as a rotational tackle with five starts. Williams had nine quarterback hits, six sacks, and two passes defensed last season.
Trey Flowers was Step 1 in “what if we made the whole defense out of ex-Patriots” last offseason. Flowers came in on a big deal after a high pressure-rate, low-sack season with New England. The problem was the pressure also fell off for Flowers in his first year in Detroit.
Overall the Lions were 30th in pressure rate, per SIS, and 32nd in Pass Rush Win Rate last season. They could use a massive upgrade — or at least more depth — at the position.
Hey, look, another former Patriot. Jamie Collins was a swiss army knife in his second stint with New England. He played off-ball, had plus coverage, and was one of the league’s best pass rushing linebackers (he led all linebackers with 100+ pass rush snaps in pressure rate per SIS). None of that translated to Cleveland when he left New England the first time bit with a former Patriots defensive coordinator running this defense, Collins should be used in a similar way.
There’s a lot of linebackers on the depth chart, but not a lot of plus production. Jahlani Tavai gave some flashes in his rookie season, but there’s still plenty of questions among this group.
The Lions traded away Darius Slay, which left a big hole on the outside. Desmond Trufant, who struggled with the Falcons last season, is not likely the one to fill it. Of course, there’s the potential of Jeffery Okudah at third overall. It might be a necessity at this point.
Justin Coleman was the big free agent acquisition last season and his play fell off terribly in 2019 after a stellar season in the slot during 2018. There’s hope he can bounce back. Darryl Roberts and Tony McRae don’t add much as free agent acquisitions from this offseason, but there is some potential in Amani Oruwariye for his second season.
Duran Harmon finishes off the Patriots plan. He played well at safety in the Patriots dime-heavy looks and lined up in a few places across the secondary. Tracy Walker also covered quite well last season and saved the backend of the Lions’ secondary after the Quandre Diggs trade. Jayron Kearse was a good third safety with the Vikings and could get on the field more often with the Lions.