The Detroit Lions have a rookie class that is highly regarded as one of the better groups in the league, and the depth of the class is what could make it second to none right off the bat in 2020.
Detroit’s class should give then plenty of depth, but the chance exists for the team to see some huge performances from their youngest players. Who will make an immediate impact from this class? Here’s a look at some of the early picks to stand out.
D’Andre Swift, RB
It will be easy to see Swift playing a huge role this season for the Lions. The team needs a durable weapon at running back and Kerryon Johnson has been inconsistent with regards to health the last few seasons. All of that should point to Swift getting plenty of love and plenty of carries early on. Arguably the best runner in the draft, Swift comes to Detroit with a great chance to make a huge impact and it would be easy to see him being a huge contributor in the first year with the team and a new look offense which should be much better on the ground. Arguably, Swift is primed for success more than any other rookie on the team even in spite of the checkered history of Detroit running backs through the years.
Jeff Okudah, Cornerback
Teams do not draft a cornerback with the No. 3 overall pick to sit on the bench, so Okudah is going to play ready or not, and most signs point to him being more than ready for the role of lock down defender on the back end. Okudah comes in hungry to learn and grow, and that should only help him moving forward as it relates to nailing down a consistent role with the defense. Okudah’s professional approach as a rookie shows he is the right man for the job of becoming the team’s next elite cornerback. Expect Okudah to be thrust into the fire and expect him to show the goods as the season progresses for the team.
Julian Okwara, Edge
Many might not be remembering Okwara given how overlooked he was coming into the draft thanks to injury, but if he’s healthy, the Lions have a key pass rusher that could be set to emerge quickly and dominate along the front. Okwara headed to the perfect situation given his brother Romeo Okwara is also on the team. If Okwara is comfortable and healthy, he could be one of the best rookie pass rushers in the league given he has a chance to break out and play a huge role immediately.
Jonah Jackson, Offensive Line
Jackson comes to the Lions as one of the most important picks in the last few seasons given what he can provide the team’s needy offensive front. Regarded as perhaps one of the best pass blockers in the draft, Jackson will be counted on early to fill in up front and perhaps even play a dominant role for the team and a changed offensive line. The best bet is he will be a player who can step in and play a big role early given his Big Ten pedigree and also given the fact that the Lions traded up to land him.
Jason Huntley, Running Back
Many might have another name in mind, but Huntley has potential to make a very electric splash on the scene in his first year with the Lions. Detroit is stacked at running back, but Huntley is a big play waiting to happen given his electric legs and ability to make things happen on special teams. The bet is he can make the Lions utilizing that avenue and also get into the mix at running back or even catching passes. By the time 2020 is done, Huntley will have made a few game breaking plays for the team which is desperately needed coming off the team’s struggles with that the last few years.
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