How will free agency moves change the Detroit Lions draft plans?

The Detroit Lions have made strong free agency additions so far. Do these offseason additions change who they take with the third overall pick in the draft?

For once in my lifetime, the Detroit Lions are actually making strong offseason moves. The two biggest additions being linebacker Jamie Collins, and cornerback Desmond Trufant. Some other notable additions are safety Duron Harmon, and defensive tackles Nick Williams and Danny Shelton.

Without a doubt, general manager Bob Quinn somewhat patched holes on the defensive side of the ball. Collins is a huge boost to a depleted LB core, and Trufant served to be a big signing with the trading of Darius Slay.

Is the defense now where it needs to be? No, not even close. But this free agency round now gives the Lions more flexibility with the third overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

The top three draft options for Detroit are edge rusher Chase Young, CB Jeffrey Okudah, and LB/S Isaiah Simmons. Auburn DT Derrick Brown is probably a close fourth option behind them.

As much as I like Brown, I feel like the additions of Nick Williams and Danny Shelton shoots him down the Lions draft board.

Shelton is by far coming off his best season since his second year in 2016. He racked up 61 total tackles with half of those being solo. He also tacked on three sacks, as well as six quarterback hits.

Williams is coming off of his only full NFL season, but it was a good one. He only had 42 total tackles, but managed to get six sacks and nine QB hits.

Before free agency, it seemed pretty clear that the narrative was drafting Chase Young if he were to still be on the board by the third pick. But now, that narrative could possibly be different.

Jamie Collins is definitely an upgrade from Devon Kennard who got signed by Arizona this offseason. However, the LB core for Detroit is still weak.

Linebacker Jahlani Tavai was a pleasant surprise this season for where Detroit drafted him at. With him only having one year under his belt though, we don’t know if 2019 was just beginner’s luck.

Jarrad Davis’ future is up in the air as his play has been inconsistent in his tenure with Detroit. If he doesn’t have a productive season in 2020, he could be out the door come next offseason.

With all of this being said, Clemson LB/S hybrid Isaiah Simmons could be a more prominent option long-term. Obviously, he’s versatile. He can help the Lions’ LB core, as well as help in the secondary when needed.

At first, I wasn’t high on Okudah. Mostly because I thought Slay wasn’t going to be traded, so I felt like drafting a corner wouldn’t fill the biggest need for Detroit.

With Slay now gone, the Lions may need to draft Okudah. Trufant is a solid cornerback, don’t get me wrong. But with him coming off a forearm injury last season, who knows what his availability will be in 2020. Drafting Okudah could prove to be vital down the road.

In the grand scheme of things, I still feel like Chase Young is still the best option for the Detroit Lions. They’re in desperate need for a pass rush, and Young could give them that.

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However, with all of the free agency moves the Lions have made so far, I wouldn’t mind seeing them draft Simmons or Okudah with the third overall pick. I’m just praying they don’t draft another offensive lineman.

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