One Player Detroit Lions Will Regret Not Drafting
In the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected linebacker Julian Okwara out of Notre Dame.
General manager Bob Quinn and Co. were very impressed with Okwara's athleticism, and his potential of becoming an elite pass rusher for the next several seasons.
"Overall, Okwara is an inconsistent run defender with strength and consistency questions, but he is an exceptional athlete with a projectable body, projecting as a high risk, high reward pass rusher," according to Dane Brugler of The Athletic.
If Detroit could have looked elsewhere, there was also a talented interior defensive lineman the organization could have targeted.
Justin Madubuike came off a stellar junior season in which he recorded 45 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and seven quarterback hurries.
Standing at 6-foot-3 and 293-pounds, Madubuike's athleticism was on full display at the Combine.
He recorded a 4.83 40-yard dash and a 7.37 3-cone drill.
The Baltimore Ravens valued his ability as a pass rusher and ended up selecting Madubuike with the 71st overall pick.
"He’s very explosive, he ran a 4.8 at the Combine, he’s a guy that can get to the passer, he’s twitchy," Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said via 247 Sports. “We see players like him on the inside and they can just wreak havoc. You see guys like Aaron Donald, for instance, and you see when you can get that inside pass rush what that means -- Geno Atkins, those kind of guys -- you see what that does. It makes those outside guys even better.
“I think Justin is a guy that has the talent and body to be able to be an inside pass rusher. He’s twitchy, he’s strong with his hands, he plays hard, he’s got excellent penetration ability, lateral agility, natural explosive qualities."
Madubuike has the flexibility to play the 5-technique or nose guard but has been primarily excelled in the 3-technique.
If Okwara fails to deliver, supporters of Detroit could look to Baltimore to watch another player performing at an elite level and wonder what might have been!