Detroit Lions finally find their pass rusher in the third round

Julian Okwara, Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Julian Okwara, Notre Dame Fighting Irish (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions continued an epic draft run with the first of two third-round picks addressing their defensive needs with Julian Okwara at 67th overall.

The Detroit Lions addressed both their defensive and offensive needs with their first two selections in the 2020 NFL Draft. With the third overall selection, the Lions got themselves the top cornerback prospect of this draft class in Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah.

In the second round, Detroit followed up the Okudah pick with the selection of Georgia running back D’Andre Swift 35th overall. With Swift, the Lions secure their offensive backfield with a player who can compete for a starting role with third-year running back Kerryon Johnson.

And with the first of two third-round selections, the Lions continued to address their defensive needs with the 67th overall selection in the draft. Detroit selected EDGE rusher Julian Okwara out of Notre Dame.

The younger brother of Lions’ defensive end Romeo Okwara, who was the team’s sack leader in 2018, the rookie pass rusher will call the Motor City home potentially playing alongside his older brother. A fractured left fibula derailed Julian’s senior season, likely allowing him to slide to Motown in the third round.

Last season, Okwara recorded 19 total tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, and two forced fumbles in nine games for the Fighting Irish. The year before he racked up 8.0 sacks in 13 games as a junior.

The 6-foot-4, 252-pound edge rusher is a lanky athlete who possesses traits that could make him another potential third-round gem for Detroit. And the Lions, who recorded just 28 total sacks as a team last season (tied for second-lowest in the NFL), desperately needed to add another pass rusher to their rotation.

The Detroit Lions best draft picks by round since 2009. dark. Next

The Detroit Lions have had some real success in this round since general manager Bob Quinn arrived in the Motor City back in 2016. Players like guard Graham Glasgow, Pro Bowl wide receiver Kenny Golladay, plus safeties Tracy Walker and Will Harris are all former third-rounders.