Draft Picks 2020:
In order to truly contend this year, the Lions need to draft as many impact players they can get their hands on. This means punting on potential developmental players that may have higher upside for the organization in the long run in order to acquire playmakers that can fill out the rest of the holes on the team. This is a deep-dive mock draft that gives the Lions their best shot at winning (in our opinion).
3rd overall: Chase Young DE, OSU
In this mock draft, the Redskins are taking Tua at #2 overall. It’s obvious that Tua is downright a better prospect than Haskins and Rivera could easily pull a Kliff Kingsbury and get “his guy” at QB. This would be the best case scenario for the Lions. Drafting the generational Chase Young pairs him with Trey Flowers to provide a formidable edge presence on the Defense. This would create a contender D-Line when you consider the strong additions of Timmy Jernigan and Jonathon Hankins in the middle. The Lions cannot afford to pass on Young in the scenario that he falls in their lap. He is the type of generational pass-rusher you see once every 10 years. Chase Young is the closest thing we’ve seen to Julius Peppers since Julius Peppers. The D-Line could go from a weakness to the biggest area of strength on the Lions Defense. Young, Hankins, Hand, Jernigan, Flowers. That is a SCARY D-Line that could take the Lions Defense to the next level. Say what you will about Young, but he provides an immediate boost to an awful pass rush.
21st overall (Eagles Trade): Jalen Reagor – WR, TCU
He can play the Deebo Samuel role in the offense and act as an explosive slot player that can learn from experienced slot man Danny Amendola. Although he posted a slower than expected 40 time at the combine, a 4.47 40 is still FAST. Look at the fits the 49ers gave defenses all year (until the Super Bowl, woops) with a versatile playmaker like Samuel. The Lions need youth at the position with Kenny Golladay’s contract coming up soon and the aging and oft-banged-up Amendola. Reagor is the type of explosive playmaker the Lions need to create mismatches across the middle of the field. Reagor is the perfect shifty receiver to work the underneath of the field to take Linebacker coverage pressure off of Tight End TJ Hockenson. This could be Justin Jefferson instead, but we think Reagor fits in better to the immediate needs of this offense.
35th overall: Trevon Diggs CB, Alabama
Given the departure of Corner Darius Slay, the Lions Defense needs another corner that can compete to be a starter immediately. This would give the Defense a good CB2 across from CB1 Logan Ryan and complement slot corner Justin Coleman nicely. Considering these additions in the secondary with 2019 5th round pick Amani Oruwariye and the Safeties Will Harris and Tracy Walker, the secondary looks to be contention-ready. Diggs did benefit from the strong Alabama defensive system, but will fit right in with Patricia’s style of coaching and man-to-man scheme.
67th overall: Zack Moss – RB, OSU
Moss is the type of in-between-the-tackles runner the Lions need to take pressure off of RB1 Kerryon Johnson. Moss is more than capable of being a redzone back that gets “3 yards and a cloud of dust” when the Lions need it most. With the addition of Moss, the presence of a healthy Kerryon Johnson, and the 3rd down receiving potential of 2019 6th round pick Ty Johnson, the backfield looks to be potent and consistent in 2020. This could give Matt Stafford the ground game he needs to make a deep playoff run. Moss also provides great insurance given the lengthy injury history that Kerryon Johnson has to this point in his career.
109th Overall: Donovan Peoples-Jones: WR, UM
DPJ is the type of explosive 50/50 ball playmaker the Lions could use to take the top off the opposing defense. The Combine showed us that DPJ is big, fast, and can jump out of the building with a 44 inch vert and a more than fast 40 for his size. Given the spotty health of Marvin Jones recently, DPJ could be a perfect fit in the Lions offense as a seam-stretcher. An offense containing: Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, Jalen Reagor, DPJ, and TJ Hockenson is absolutely DANGEROUS. There are too many mismatches for opposing defenses, giving Stafford open windows to throw to that he has never enjoyed during his career in Detroit. This pick could also allow the Lions to groom DPJ for a year to be a replacement for Marvin Jones, if they choose not to resign him next season.
149th Overall: Jonah Jackson – OL – OSU
Jackson is a nice prospect to help fill out the depth of the offensive line that has been banged up for the past few years. With the expected departure of Guard Graham Glasgow and the recent release of Tackle Ricky Wagner, Jackson could be a good prospect to rotate in and out of the lineup as needed. He is an absolute mauler that can be a difference maker for the Lions if properly developed.
172nd Overall: Jake Fromm – QB – Georgia
While we are projecting a clean bill of health for Matthew Stafford during the 2020 season, it doesn’t hurt to provide a proven winner in Jake Fromm to the Lions QB room. They have struggled with in-house quality backups to Stafford (as we saw what happened when Stafford goes down) and, while Fromm doesn’t have the strongest arm or greatest mobility, he has the potential to be a good game managing QB as a backup in the NFL. Within Darell Bevell’s offensive system, he could carve out a niche as a middle-of-the-field passer and great decision maker.
182nd Overall: Michael Divinity Jr. – LB, LSU
Divinity JR. is a nice depth piece with Van Noy, Kennard, Flyin’ Hawaain, and Davis that can work in and out of the lineup in different packages. Since Patricia’s defense emphasizes versatile linebackers, it makes sense to load up at the position. With the additions of Van Noy and Divinity Jr., the Lions Linebacking core finally has enough depth to be a competitive defense that can keep them in games.
The Lions have no 7th round picks in this year’s draft.
Final Lineup, Projected Starters, Predictions:
Let’s wrap-up both halves of the article with a summary of the final lineup the Lions will have (the significant players), their projected starters, and the predictions for their season outlook.
*Underline means that this is a projected starter on the team*
Matthew Stafford, Jake Fromm (we think Fromm could beat up the other backups on the team as of right now.
Kerryon Johnson, Zack Moss, Ty Johnson. The belief is that KJ and Moss will split the lead role so that KJ can make it healthy for an entire season.
Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, Jalen Reagor, Donovan Peoples-Jones
TJ Hockenson, Jesse James
Taylor Decker, Jonah Jackson, Frank Ragnow, Joe Thuney, Tyrell Crosby(since Wagner got cut while we were writing this)
Chase Young, Tim Jernigan, Jonothan Hankins, Trey Flowers
Kyle Van Noy, Tavai, Jarad Davis
Logan Ryan, Trevon Diggs, Justin Coleman, Amani Oruwariye
Damarious Randall, Tracy Walker
While this might not be the “sexiest” roster ever constructed, this is one that we believe gives Matt Patricia a real chance at winning this year. This team has the right amount of veteran and youth presence to make a real run at the title. The Lions have recently been discussed as a popular “worst to first” team. This team, with the talent constructed, could easily go 11-5 with the division they are in. The Packers, Vikings, and Bears all seem to be regressing as the offseason progresses. We obviously won’t know anything for sure until Free Agency and the Draft are over with, but we believe this roster gives the Lions the most realistic chance at a division title this year. The Vikings are losing a lot of quality starters on defense and have consistent offensive line problems, the Packers showed in the playoffs that they are not real contenders and that Aaron Rodgers, while still great, is simply not the player he once was–while the Bears continue to roll with Mitchell Trubisky (and that’s all you need to hear about the Bears). The Lions are the only team in the division that are trending in the upward to direction, since they have nowhere to go but up from last year’s abysmal showing and terrible injury luck. This team could easily have both a top 10 defense and offense. Take the paper bags off, Lions fans. This is your year! (Again).
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