As the owners of the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions are guaranteed to land a top prospect. Which one is now the biggest question.
If there is one positive to pull from a 3-12-1 season, it’s the fact the Detroit Lions will pick high in the upcoming NFL draft. In fact, the Motor City currently owns the third overall selection in the annual selection event which scheduled for late April. And the next few months will be spent speculating whom their first-round pick just might be.
The third overall pick will be the highest for fifth-year general manager Bob Quinn in Detroit. It’s also the highest selection for the Lions’ organization since they made Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh the second overall selection in 2010. That was just a season after Detroit selected quarterback Matthew Stafford the number one overall pick out of Georgia.
Ironically, 11 years after the Lions made Suh their top selection, Detroit could end up making the same positional choice again, this time with the third overall pick in the 2020 draft. One of the top college prospects many believe the Lions will consider in the first round is Auburn’s Derrick Brown.
Brown is a 6-foot-5, 318-pound defensive lineman with the versatility to play inside or out, a quality that could come in handy in head coach Matt Patricia’s multiple defensive scheme. Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network describes Brown as being one of the most complete interior defensive line prospects in recent memory and a plug-and-play starter with All-Pro potential.
Here’s what Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy, a former scout for the New England Patriots who has worked with both Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia before, told the Detroit Free Press about Brown being a fit in Detroit.
“[Brown’s] a three-down interior defensive lineman who can pressure from the inside, and those guys, they don’t grow on trees. That’s the old (Bill) Belichick line. He’s hard to find. Those guys are hard to find. You got to take him when you got a chance.”
Over the past two seasons, Brown has totaled a combined 102 tackles, 22.0 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, six pass deflections, three forced fumbles and recoveries for the Tigers. The fact the Lions are projected to have a major need at the position doesn’t hurt his likelihood of landing in Detroit either.
According to Spotrac.com, defensive tackles Mike Daniels, A’Shawn Robinson, and Darius Kilgo are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in March. Throw in defensive tackle Damon Harrison is considering retirement, and Auburn’s Derrick Brown could simply be too talented and too much of a glaring roster need for the Detroit Lions to pass up.