Grading the Detroit Lions 2020 NFL Draft pick by pick

Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images /
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John Penisini
Defensive tackle John Penisini, Utah Utes (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images) /

DT John Penisini – Grade: B+

Everyone was so focused on trying to draft a speedy edge rusher, they forgot about the big men inside! The Utah Ute John Penisini is a solid pick for the Detroit Lions in a position of need.

Standing at 6-foot-2 and 333 pounds, Penisini provides much needed size in the trenches. He’s a good run stuffer with his size alone. You add on his footwork and hand battling, and you got yourself a pretty good player inside.

His strength is something to take note of as he can move guys off the ball when he has to. Despite his size, he’s good at lowering his pad level and getting leverage as well.

Some downsides of Penisini is that he can become flat-footed after initial contact which can cause him to become off balance. His block shedding can be a tad slow at times too. The competition he faced in the PAC-12 isn’t as strong as other conferences, so his true skill is somewhat in question.

Despite being drafted in the sixth round, Penisini is still going to have a good chance to compete for playing time. The Detroit Lions’ defensive line is weaker than it should be.

Detroit did sign some defensive tackles in free agency, but those guys are going to have to prove themselves just as much as Penisini will. Look out for this big man in 2020.