The Detroit Lions have made a lot of moves to open the new league year. Let’s meet the players added to the 2020 list.
Detroit Free Press
George Young, the late staff guru and five-time NFL director of the year recently selected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame, had a theory about linemen.
He called it the theory of the planet: there are few humans on the planet big and athletic enough to play on the line of scrimmage in the NFL – so you better write them down when you can.
About the Detroit Lions’ concerns during the NFL draft in 2020 next week, this theory needs to be particularly taken into account when it comes to selecting defensive tackles – a position in which the team is terribly thin. After Danny Shelton and Da’Shawn Hand, the Lions have no tackles left in their lineup with more than six starting experience games.
The best defensive tackles in the draft that are close to the locks for the first round are Derrick Brown of Auburn and Javon Kinlaw of South Carolina. If the Lions do not choose either, here is an overview of other defensive tackles (or defensive liners who are not exclusively rushers) whom they can select after the first round.
[ Eight RBs who should entice Detroit Lions on Day 2 or 3 of NFL draft ]
Lions have a choice in the seven rounds: First (No. 3). Second (35). Third (67 and 85). Fourth (109). Fifth (149 and 166). Sixth (182). Seventh (235).
Day 2: Second and third rounds
Ross Blacklock, TCU
Cut: 6 feet 3 inches, 290 pounds.
Why: It has a high engine and is excellent at passing with relentless thrust. Not as strong as a running defender when asked to take blocks. Had a good production last season with 40 tackles, including 3½ bags and nine tackles for loss. He missed 2018 with a torn Achilles tendon, but was a better player after losing 25 pounds in rehabilitation.
Raekwon Davis, Alabama
Cut: 6-6, 311.
Why: Lions general manager Bob Quinn enjoys writing SEC defensive linemen as much as Joe Exotic enjoys hanging out with tigers. Davis therefore feels like a Lion. His physical qualities are undeniable and he had a good production in four years. Never duplicated his second year season of 8½ bags, and his production fell the next two years. More than a race-stuffer, but the NFL defensive line coaches probably don’t care about Davis’ potential.
Neville Gallimore, Oklahoma
Cut: 6-2, 304.
Why: The Ottawa, Ontario, native they call “Big Canada” is said to have accumulated 500 pounds and was athletic enough to tackle almost 330 pounds. Excellent at penetrating gaps, he could fight the race early as he learns to finish tackles while he is engaged with a block.
Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M
Justin Madubuike of Texas A&M. (Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Cut: 6-3, 293.
Why: He is undersized but has been productive and consistent over the past two years with 5½ bags each season and 40 and 45 tackles in second year and junior respectively. Win quickly and quickly, but may have trouble overcoming double teams. Has a high engine and plays through the whistle.
Leki Fotu, Utah
Cut: 6-5, 330.
Why: This rugby player who became a football stallion could be the first executioner of the draft. He will be almost exclusively a two-time player and has excelled in this role in Utah on his way to winning All-Pac-12 honors in the past two seasons. He was reported for medical problems at the Senior Bowl, but also reportedly had video conferences with 17 teams.
Davon Hamilton, Ohio State
Cut: 6-4, 320.
Why: The fifth senior year is an interesting prospect whose production and efficiency will be called into question because of the impact of Chase Young. But he showed a good band and a lot of power, athleticism and intelligence for the Buckeyes. He can read plays, perform stunts and follow the ball. But he probably won’t be a factor as a pass defender.
Day 3: fourth to seventh rounds
Jordan Elliott, Missouri
Cut: 6-4, 302.
Why: Elliott started in Texas in 2016 before moving to Missouri, where he finally entered the field in 2018 and eight tackles for loss and three sacks without even being a starter. Last year, he showed his full promise with speed and athletics for 44 tackles, 8½ for loss and 2½ sacks. Lack of polish as a hobby and could be a bit of a project.
James Lynch, Baylor
Cut: 6-4, 289.
Why: Has had great production in three seasons, and last year had 13½ bags and 19½ tackled for loss on its way to winning the title of Big 12 defensive player of the year. Much of this came from the game in 5 techniques . Probably would play inside the NFL and should add strength and volume.
Rashard Lawrence, LSU
Cut: 6-2, 308.
Why: Could be the best player with great effort in this position. Chases games with an obstinate mentality, shows a good explosion and a low level of pad. He was a second-year team captain, shone as a junior, but missed spring exercises last year after undergoing a right knee operation. Productive in 12 games, making 28 tackles, six for defeat with 2½ bags to help LSU win the national championship.
Larrell Murchison, State of North Carolina
Cut: 6-2, 297.
Why: The transfer to college took advantage of his two seasons at Power 5 level with 82 tackles, 20 for loss and seven of his 11 sacks to come as a senior. Has good speed and good technique and is rarely put on the ground. Has no overwhelming strength and finds it difficult to disengage from the first blocks.
Raequan Williams, State of Michigan
Cut: 6-4, 308.
Why: Constant and reliable player for the Spartans who have made 42 consecutive starts. Strong against the pass and shows a tackle radius good enough in the racing game. Should have enough versatility to play a variety of roles along the line. Fight with two homework and to free yourself from double teams.
Benito Jones, Mississippi
Cut: 6-1, 316.
Why: Has a solid production record over four seasons in the SEC and has shone as a senior with 10 tackles for the loss and 5½ sacks. Has a powerful engine, a thick construction and a great football character. He is not long enough to be dangerous in the rush and could easily become a liability if the attacking linemen put his hand on his chest.
Contact Carlos Monarrez at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.
We don’t know when the Detroit Lions will play in 2020, but we do know who they will be facing and where. Here is an overview of the calendar for this season.