A look at the players the Detroit Lions added during the 2020 NFL draft.
Detroit Free Press
For all the oddities the Detroit Lions have perpetuated themselves in the first round of the NFL draft in the past 30 years – you know, “wide receivers back to back” or “two top 10 tight ends in six years” – they have managed to find a new one this year. With Ohio State’s half corner selection Jeff Okudah, the Lions have become the first team since 1997 to take a corner in the top three picks; it’s only the 12th time in 30 years that a turn has been in the top five.
Let’s take a look at how these 11 previous top-5 CBs (ranked roughly from best to worst) behaved in the NFL:
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If Okudah produces close to what the top four on this list have done – and granted, one of which is only in its third season in the league – rave reviews for Lions’ choice will be warranted .
1998: Charles Woodson
Taken: 4th by the Oakland Raiders.
The buzz: The Michigan man lived up to his Heisman Trophy win early in Oakland, making the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons with the Raiders. His career reached the next level when he went to Green Bay at the age of 30; he had 37 interceptions in six seasons as a corner with the Packers before going to safety. He is eligible for the Hall of Fame next year and is expected to do so in the first ballot.
2011: Patrick Peterson
Taken: 5th by the Arizona Cardinals.
The buzz: The LSU product appears on its way to a Hall of Fame career, with three All-Pro nods – including one as a kicker / kicker as a rookie – and eight Pro Bowl appearances for Cards. He missed the Pro Bowl in 2019 after the NFL suspended him for six games (performance enhancing drugs) to open the season; Peterson still had two interceptions and 53 tackles in 10 games.
2016: Jalen Ramsey
Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey intercepts against Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown during the third quarter of November 18, 2018 in Jacksonville. (Photo: Douglas DeFelice, USA TODAY Sports)
To choose: 5th by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The buzz: Ramsey was transferred in the middle of the 2019 season to the Los Angeles Rams, but it was the result of contract requests and his front office clashes, not his playing on the field. Appointed to the All-Rookie team in 2016, the Florida State product was an All-Pro in 2017 and a Pro Bowler in 2017-19.
2018: Denzel Ward
To choose: 4th by the Cleveland Browns.
The buzz: Okudah’s teammate for a season at OSU was brilliant in his first two years in Cleveland. Appointed to the Pro Bowl and the All-Rookie team in 2018, Ward has five interceptions in the past two seasons. He is, however, somewhat prone to injury, with two concussions and ankle, hip and hamstring injuries limiting him to 25 of the Browns’ 32 games. His performance in 2020 will go a long way in determining his future in Cleveland.
Normally, this section would be for “the bad guys” – we used to do this for Lions, okay? – but the four cornerbacks here each lasted at least a decade in the NFL, with three of them playing the Pro Bowl. Lions could do worse – and have done it often.
2003: Terence Newman
To choose: 5th by the Dallas Cowboys.
The buzz: The Kansas State corner made two Pro Bowls, without an All-Pro bed, but lasted 15 seasons in the league. Nine of them came with the Cowboys; he had at least three choices in eight of those years before making stops with the Bengals and the Vikings.
1997: Shawn Springs
To choose: 3rd by the Seattle Seahawks.
The buzz: Springs made the Pro Bowl in his second season in Seattle, his only appearance. The OSU product has struggled to stay healthy, appearing in at least 15 games in just seven of its 13 NFL seasons. His best season came after signing with Washington as a free agent in 2004; he led the team in interceptions (five) and in sacks (six), the first player in NFL history to lead a team in both categories.
1991: Todd Lyght
Todd Lyght signed with the Lions in 2001 and totaled six interceptions and played in 32 games for them before retiring after the 2002 season. (Photo: Julian H. Gonzalez, Detroit Free Press)
To choose: 5th by the Los Angeles Rams.
The buzz: Lyght was the third defensive back in the 1991 draft – after Pickens and safety Eric Turner (# 2 overall from Bill Belichick and the Cleveland Browns) – and had a solid career once he had problems injuries early in his career. (He only started 29 of the Rams’ 48 games in his first three seasons.) Lasted 10 years in Los Angeles and St. Louis, culminating in a nod to the Pro Bowl during the race. Rams to the NFL Championship in 1999, before finishing. his career with two seasons in Detroit.
2002: Quentin Jammer
To choose: 5th by the Chargers.
The buzz: Brother of former Lions corner When Diggs, Jammer had a solid, albeit unspectacular, career of 12 years. Jammer only started four games as a freshman, but was still part of the All-Rookie team. Jammer’s skills lay in tackling rather than covering, making him a scapegoat for the Chargers’ playoff extinctions; despite this, he averaged nearly 66 tackles a year in his 11 seasons with San Diego before finishing with a season in Denver.
All Lions 2020 choices: Round selections
The ugly one
These three are the warning tales for Lions – in fact, one of them was a lion. We will know fairly quickly if Okudah falls into this category.
1992: Terrell Buckley
To choose: 5th by the Green Bay Packers.
The buzz: Buckley is not exactly remembered in Green Bay as he lasted three seasons there before the Packers shipped him to the Dolphins for, essentially, nothing. But Buckley has had a solid NFL career with 50 interceptions – good for the 35th in league history – in 13 seasons, and he picked up a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots after making a key interception in playoffs. Yet he is one of the few players in NFL history with at least 50 choices and no place in the Pro Bowl. And once again, EXCHANGE FOR NOTHING.
1997: Bryant Westbrook
Former California high school teammates Michael Booker of Nebraska, left, and Bryant Westbrook of Texas pose together after Booker was picked by the Falcons and Westbrook was picked by the Lions in the first round of the NFL Draft in New York, April 19, 1997. (Photo: Kevin Larkin / AP)
To choose: 5th by the Detroit Lions.
The buzz: The Lions were satisfied with corner n ° 2 of the repechage after an agreement to pass to the choice n ° 2 (probably to push back Springs). Westbrook never provided the physique the team expected and he started 54 games in five seasons in Detroit. (A final season was shared between the Cowboys and the Packers.) As if wondering what Springs could have produced for the Lions was not bad enough for Lions fans, there was the guy who went right after Westbrook in 1997 too: Hall of Fame on the left attacking Walter Jones.
1991: Bruce Pickens
To choose: 3rd by the Atlanta Falcons.
The buzz: Despite his physical gifts, Pickens’ faults were apparent even before a New York Times screening report noted that the Nebraska corner “has not been exposed to the most passive crimes and is somewhat brutal in overall development ” However, his film in college showed him backing away faster than a receiver could run forward. “The receiver he was covering literally hit a takeoff road – and Bruce never had to get out of his backpedal,” former former Nebraska high school coach George Darlington told the Lincoln Journal Star. “The receiver could not close the cushion enough to force Bruce to spin and sprint. The NFL receivers were apparently faster; Pickens lasted four seasons in the NFL and appeared in double-digit games once in his second season; he was an ex-Falcon the following year.
Contact Ryan Ford at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @theford.