Detroit Lions: Best case scenarios for rookies on defense

Jeff Okudah, Detroit Lions (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Jeff Okudah, Detroit Lions (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Jeff Okudah, Detroit Lions
Jeff Okudah, Detroit Lions (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images) /

Sorting out the potential roles and best case scenarios in 2020 for every Detroit Lions draft pick on defense.

After an offseason like no other, the first snag in the 2020 preseason for the Detroit Lions already occurred, as they pushed back the reporting date for the rookies by a week. As of now, the rookies will arrive at training camp with everyone else today (July 28th), and then undergo extensive coronavirus testing  and physicals before being cleared to practice.

True practices won’t begin until August 12, leaving yet another two weeks of pure speculation on the state of the 2020 season. Last week, I recapped the most likely roles for each rookie on the Lions offense this season. For this post, I’ll be doing the same thing on the defensive side.

For a quick review, the Lions have four new defensive rookies entering the mix this year: Jeffrey Okudah, Julian Okwara (yes, Romeo’s little brother, John Penisini, and Jashon Cornell. Out of these four, my prediction is that three of them will end up making the team, and only Okudah will be a starter out of the gates.

What roles will Detroit Lions rookies fill on defense this year?

Detroit had a bottom-ranked defense a year ago  and only five returning starters on that side, so in theory plenty of positions should be up for grabs. With that said, most of their middle round picks were used to give Matthew Stafford more weapons and protections on offense.

Beyond Okudah, the talent level to start right away probably just isn’t there, especially considering the fragmented offseason and shortened preseason this year. Here’s my breakdown of the likely roles in 2020 for each of the four Lions draft picks: