Detroit Lions: 3 players most impacted by 2020 draft class

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /
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Joe Dahl, Detroit Lions
Joe Dahl, Detroit Lions (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

Joe Dahl

Dahl’s slow and steady climb from college tackle, to under-the-radar fifth-round draft pick, to starting guard for the Lions over the span of four years has been admirable. Officially a starter, he was part of an unusual rotation at the guard position in 2019 with returning veteran Kenny Wiggins and departed free agent Graham Glasgow. A pair of players drafted at his position, though, could put added pressure on Dahl to elevate his game in order to hang on to his full-time role.

The Lions used consecutive picks in the third and fourth rounds in last week’s draft to select guards Jonah Jackson from Ohio State and Logan Stenberg from Kentucky. Both have a reputation as intense and rugged players.

Jackson played for the Lions’ coaching staff at January’s Senior Bowl and Stenberg has a nasty reputation that seems to match the kind of identity that the Lions have been looking to establish on their offensive line for years.

Dahl’s versatility and low-maintenance, workman-like attitude are traits that the Lions like, and they valued him enough to sign him to a two-year extension last August. However, a back injury cost him the final three games of 2019. He is a serviceable piece up front, but likely not a long term answer.

Could Dahl’s starting position be in jeopardy at the hands of two rookies? It seems doubtful, and the Lions would likely prefer to keep at least one experienced player at a guard spot, assuming Dahl can stay off of the injury report.

Don’t forget though, the last time the Lions made the playoffs in 2016, they were starting two rookies on the offensive line by their fifth game – Glasgow and left tackle Taylor Decker. Could the Lions find themselves in that situation again in 2020?