SI Lions Roundtable: Lions Draft Recap

John Maakaron, Vito Chirco and Logan Lamorandier recap the Lions draft class

The Detroit Lions drafted nine draft prospects over the course of the past three days.

General manager Bob Quinn specifically addressed areas of need along the offensive line and secondary. 

There were a couple of surprises, though.  

Here is how the writers at SI All Lions felt about how the Lions fared in the 2020 NFL Draft.

1.) Who do you think of the draft class for the Lions?

John Maakaron: I agree with many that express this was Quinn's best draft in five years. I was surprised though at some of the selections made on day three this year. 

Logan Lamorandier: Not bad overall. Filled a lot of holes and I don't think any player in the top-3 rounds was a reach. Found myself very pleased after Friday night.

Vito Chirco: I think Detroit general manager Bob Quinn had a quality draft and maybe his best since joining the organization as its lead personnel decision-maker in 2016.

My major issue with Quinn's draft is that he waited until the third round to upgrade the pass rush.

2.) Who were the best and worst picks made by Quinn?

Maakaron: Quinn's best pick was linebacker Julian Okwara. If it wasn't for his injury, he surely would have been a first-round pick this year. 

I was totally surprised that Quinn selected running back Jason Huntley. Even if the team was impressed with his skills, the need for a player on defense trumped anything Huntley can bring to the table. Two running backs in the same draft class is a head-scratcher. 

Detroit addressed the defensive line further in the draft, but at spots where players don't usually make rosters.

Lamorandier: Best: CB Jeff Okudah - He was the right choice. Zero complaints there with no firm trade-down offers.

Worst: RB Jason Huntley - He does provide a unique skill set, but where does he fit with the Lions only typically keeping four running backs? Even as a return specialist, he will have to beat out Jamal Agnew. Plenty of great talent at other positions who were passed on.

Chirco: Ohio State offensive guard Jonah Jackson at No. 75 overall in the third round - This is where I would've taken an offensive lineman, and the Lions got a dang good one here in Jackson. Jackson excels in pass protection, and can fill an immediate need on the interior of Detroit's offensive line at right guard.

New Mexico State running back Jason Huntley at No. 172 overall in the fifth round was the worst pick - Quinn & Co. had already used a Day 2 pick on Swift (No. 35 overall in the second round). So, I didn't get this pick here.

3.) Did it surprise you that more offensive players were selected by the Lions?

Maakaron: I was slightly surprised. On my draft board, I had the Lions taking five defensive players and four offensive players.

Two running backs and two guards in the same class? 

Very interesting decision-making by the Lions general manager. It certainly opens up the Lions to scrutiny regarding their roster-building strategies.

Lamorandier: Not really. There were just as many needs on offense as there was on defense after free agency. However, cornerback or an edge rusher was probably the biggest priority and both positions were drafted within the top-3 picks.

Chirco: It did slightly. I was fine with the Lions taking Kentucky offensive guard Logan Stenberg in the fourth round and Wisconsin wide receiver Quintez Cephus with their first pick in the fifth round.

Offensive line and receiver were definitely two positions of need for Quinn & Co. entering the draft.

But, I really think the Lions could have gone without taking Huntley. They already had taken Swift, and they came into the draft with two competent runners in Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough already on the depth chart.

4.) Who is the player the Lions will regret not selecting?

Maakaron: Can't help but think Isaiah Simmons will turn into one of the premier defensive players in all of football. 

In year one, Okudah might not make as big of an impact as Simmons. The Lions are banking on Okudah developing into one of the league's best defensive backs. 

Simmons could make a handful of general managers regret not selecting him, and it would be a shame for Lions fans. 

Lamorandier: Jonathan Taylor, the running back from Wisconsin. Taylor has his flaws for sure, but on first and second down, he is going to be special. His fumbling issues are a concern yet maybe a bit skewed due to the volume of carries. Just for comparison in 2019, Taylor fumbled on 1.56% of his rush attempts whereas D'Andre Swift fumbled on 1.53% of his rushes.

Chirco: Hands down, it's Tua Tagovailoa. He's a likely generational talent at the quarterback position. And who knows if longtime Lions franchise passer Matthew Stafford will be as productive as he was a year ago, after missing the second half of the 2019 campaign with a back injury.

If Stafford showcases any sign of wear and tear and if Tagovailoa manages to put together an impressive rookie season with the Dolphins, the Lions will already begin regretting the decision not to take the Alabama product. 

5.) Which rookie are you most excited to see on the field in 2020?

Maakaron: I can't wait to see running back D'Andre Swift. He really could bring an element of excitement for the Lions offense. 

He has strong pass-catching abilities, and there may be some opportunities to make the top-10 list on SportsCenter due to Swift's elusiveness. 

Lamorandier: D'Andre Swift. Running backs can come in and make an immediate impact. Swift has some moves to him and should be fun to watch. I'm very interested to see how he does when he doesn't have an elite offensive line in front of him. 

Chirco: I'm going to go with Swift.  

The Lions haven't had a running back rush for 1,000 yards in a season since Reggie Bush accomplished the feat in 2013.

With Swift in the fold, there's a chance that drought will end sooner than later.

He has some electric ability, and should form a solid one-two punch with Johnson in Detroit's backfield -- as long as the two stay healthy.


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