Ranking Lions' 5 Best Second-Year Players

Read more on who the Detroit Lions' five best second-year players will be in 2021
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The jury is still out on the quality of the Detroit Lions' 2020 rookie class -- and rightfully so. 

No matter how good or bad a team's draft class looks in its first year, it's not fair to pass judgment on it until the players get three or four years of NFL experience under their belts. 

From the Lions' perspective, the organization will need better results from the class as a whole in 2021, including more productivity from its 2020 first-round pick in defensive back Jeff Okudah. 

Here are Detroit's top five second-year players going into 2021. 

5.) WR Quintez Cephus (fifth-round pick in 2020)

Cephus comes into the 2021 campaign with a big opportunity, after the departures of fellow receivers Kenny Golladay (N.Y. Giants), Marvin Jones Jr. (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Jamal Agnew (Jaguars) via free agency. 

The Lions did ink wideouts Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams to free-agent deals earlier this offseason. 

However, Cephus should still be in line for a bigger role in 2021. 

He finished with 20 receptions for 349 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games in 2020. 

4.) CB Jeff Okudah (first-round pick in 2020) 

Okudah, the No. 3 overall pick in last year's NFL Draft, struggled in his first year in the league. 

He was consistently one of the lowest-ranked cornerbacks in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. 

For the Lions to take a step forward as a team in 2021, they'll need Okudah to do the same. 

The Ohio State product suited up for just nine games (six starts) a season ago due to the injury bug, and totaled 47 tackles, four tackles for loss, two passes defensed and one interception. 

3.) DT John Penisini (sixth-round pick in 2020)

For where Penisini was drafted, the Utah product put together a productive 2020 campaign. 

He suited up in all 16 games (12 starts), and recorded 35 total tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery. 

He, at the very least, looks like he could be a rotational defensive lineman piece in 2021. 

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2.) OG Jonah Jackson (third-round pick in 2020) 

Jackson was arguably the Lions' most productive rookie on a game-to-game basis in 2020. 

He started all 16 games, and had several games where he played like a veteran offensive lineman. 

Barring a major injury, he should be a member of Detroit's O-line for years to come. 

1.) RB D'Andre Swift (second-round pick in 2020) 

Swift was by far the most exciting first-year player for the Lions in 2020. 

He showcased the ability to get the job done both on the ground and as a pass-catcher. 

The Georgia product played in 13 games (four starts), and rushed 114 times for 521 yards and eight scores. Additionally, he caught 46 balls for 357 yards and two TDs. 

He enters the '21 season as Detroit's clear-cut No. 1 back.  

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