Round 3, Pick 67 – Julian Okwara, OLB, Notre Dame
Okwara’s Familial Connection
With the first selection of the third round for the Detroit Lions, they chose the speedy, hybrid edge rusher in OLB Julian Okwara. Filling another important position of need for the Lions, Okwara is a true HC Matt Patricia style linebacker. Okwara has the athleticism needed to defend against the run and weighs in at over 250 pounds. Fitting in excellently in a 3-4 scheme, Okwara will help take some of the offensive attention away from DE Trey Flowers. Okwara will bring much needed athleticism to a defensive line that was tied for 29th in total sacks last season.
Julian Okwara finished his career at Notre Dame with 15 sacks, and the Lions will surely be excited about adding him to their defensive unit. A great value pick for the Lions in round three, Julian Okwara projects to be a fantastic chess piece for Matt Patricia, with the ability to play outside linebacker in a base 3-4 scheme, or pass rush from the edge. By providing that versatility, Okwara should be a key piece for the Lions from day one. The fit in Detroit for Okwara is also excellent for another reason, his brother. DE Romeo Okwara will be awaiting the arrival of his brother Julian in Detroit, creating instant chemistry for the defensive line that needs all of the talent it can get. This is a great pick for the Lions, and with each passing round, the Lions continue to improve upon their weakest areas with strong picks.
Instant draft grade: B
Round 3, Pick 75 – Jonah Jackson, OG, Ohio State
Trading Up for Jackson
The Detroit Lions knew they had a need at offensive guard, and they jumped at the chance to get their guy. The Lions traded their 85th, 149th, and 182nd selections in this year’s draft to the Indianapolis Colts for picks 75 and 197. After using the 75th pick on OG Jonah Jackson, the Lions addressed yet another position of need with a solid pick. Jackson can immediately fill the absence of OG Graham Glasgow in the rotation.
Weighing in at over 300 pounds, Jackson is a strong blocker who excels primarily in run blocking schemes. While his pass protection is average, his skills as a run blocker are particularly intriguing when you consider the Lions selection in round two, RB D’Andre Swift. Pairing these selections with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s known usage of the run game from his days in Seattle, the Lions seem to be aiming for a strong running attack in 2020.
For our instant reaction to the D’Andre Swift selection, click here.
A third team Associated Press All American, and first team All Big Ten award winner, Jackson showed great promise for the Buckeyes across the line. Playing significant time at left guard, center, and right guard, Jackson can play different line positions with ease. This allows room for additional line selections, and flexibility should injury occur. He brings power and versatility to an offensive line that saw 2 key departures this offseason in OG Graham Glasgow and OT Rick Wagner. However, potential big contract decisions looming for players like OT Taylor Decker. The Lions’ offensive line could have used some revamping, and this pick does just that. As a result, this a great pickup for the Lions in round 3. The initiative to go out and get your guy is something GM Bob Quinn can be proud of.
Instant draft grade: B