The first two picks in the 2020 NFL Draft seem to be set in stone, as it is almost certain that the Cincinnati Bengals will select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick. It is just as likely that the Washington Redskins will select Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young with the second overall pick. After that, the Detroit Lions’ 2020 NFL draft plans have the potential to shake up the remainder of the draft. They currently hold the third pick in the 2020 draft, and there are many routes that Lions’ general manager Bob Quinn can take.
It’s no secret that head coach Matt Patricia and his staff are on the hot seat, as the Lions have had a record of 9-22-1 under his tutelage. Heading into the 2019 season, Lions fans had high expectations of the team, as they made a gigantic splash in the offseason when they signed free agent Trey Flowers to a blockbuster deal. However, after a 2-0-1 start, things went south in a hurry. The Lions would go on to lose 12 out of their next 13 games. Many thought it could be the end of the road for Matt Patricia, but the organization quickly announced that he would be back for the 2020 season.
The bottom line is that the seat that Patricia is currently sitting on is now scalding hot. Patricia needs to win and win now. There is no time for developing players, so adding talented plays who can contribute immediately is paramount to Patricia’s job security.
Let’s take a look at the options for general manager Quinn and the Detroit Lions’ 2020 NFL draft plans.
The most likely outcome for the Lions and Bob Quinn is standing pat and selecting Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah with the third pick of the 2020 draft. This exact scenario was predicted by Pro Football Network contributor Chris Spooner in his Detroit Lions 7-Round Mock Draft.
The Lions’ pass defense was atrocious in 2019, ranking dead last in the league. To make matters even worse, the organization hasn’t been able to reach an extension with the team’s best player, Darius Slay, who just happens to play the cornerback position. The situation has escalated quickly, as it is being reported that if a deal isn’t reached prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, the Lions will look to trade the 29-year-old three-time Pro Bowl star.
Okudah is one of the best cornerback prospects we have seen enter the NFL in the past decade. As I detailed in a previous article, Okudah is super smooth with some of the quickest feet I’ve seen. He has everything you want in a shutdown cornerback, as he is scheme versatile, possesses great speed, has plus ball skills, and has impressive football intelligence.
Take a look at the clip below to see Okudah’s ability to diagnose the play, stick his foot in the ground, and showcase his speed and ball skills to secure a marvelous interception:
Jeff Okudah's having a hell of a start to 2019 pic.twitter.com/Id0ZHt4kdp
— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) January 2, 2019
While staying at three overall to select Okudah is the most likely and safest of the Detroit Lions’ 2020 NFL draft plans, it is not the only option.
There are many quarterback-needy teams that could be potential trade partners for the Lions, such as the Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, and Carolina Panthers. Whether it is Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon’s Justin Herbert that is being targeted, the Lions should have the option to move back a few spots and acquire significant draft capital to do so.
For example, it is heavily rumored that the Dolphins are targeting Tagovailoa, and there is not a team in the league who possesses more draft capital than the Dolphins. The Lions might be able to fetch a pair of second round picks to move down two spots. In this scenario, they would still be able to get their man in Okudah.
In my opinion, this is a dream scenario for the Detroit Lions, as it allows them to get the player they want at their biggest position of need while loading up on an arsenal of extra high draft picks. With those picks, they could add dynamic running back like Georgia’s D’Andre Swift to take some pressure off of Matthew Stafford and add another top-level defensive lineman to bolster their defense.
UNLIKELY BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE
Stafford is a really good NFL quarterback. Prior to the 2019 season, he showcased extraordinary durability, as he started 128 consecutive games. However, in 2019, Stafford suffered a back injury, which caused him to miss the final eight games of the Lions’ season.
Stafford, now 31 years old, is without question the best quarterback that the Detroit Lions have ever had, as he has been able to produce mind-blowing numbers since being selected as the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. But we cannot ignore the fact that during his 11 seasons in the league, he carries an 0-3 record in the playoffs. Could the Lions potentially trade Stafford and take a quarterback with the third pick in April’s draft?
On a recent edition of the “Move the Sticks” podcast, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah mentioned that the Lions were very interested in Herbert. Maybe it’s just smoke, or maybe the Lions are really considering making a move, which would shake up the entire 2020 NFL draft. Time will tell, but buckle up. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Detroit Lions’ 2020 NFL draft plans impact the rest of the draft.