One of the Detroit Lions’ youngsters has cracked PFF’s All-Rookie Team so far
Owning the third overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, plus high picks in every round that followed. the Detroit Lions figured to have some immediately impactful rookies on their roster this year.
Yet, through the first four weeks of the season, the Lions are 1-3 and some of their top rookies have struggled out of the gate. Perhaps that was to be expected following an offseason training program gutted by a worldwide pandemic.
And certainly, the Lions first-round selection, Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, was very much a victim of that lack of training and preseason experience. With the team unwilling to commit to the third-overall pick as a starter to begin the season, there were some concerns that Detroit might have made the wrong draft choice.
After sitting out Week One with a hamstring injury, injuries to others forced Okudah’s start in Week Two against the Green Bay Packers where he struggled mightily. And despite getting his first NFL interception the following game, the first-rounder did not start against the New Orleans Saints in Week Four.
The Lions second-round selection, running back D’Andre Swift, hasn’t fared much better than Okudah. Swift dropped a last-minute touchdown pass in the team’s Week One loss to the Chicago Bears that would have won the game. The rookie has yet to play as many offensive snaps (34) as he did against the Bears, registering a mere six snaps in Detroit’s Week Three victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
In fact, the shining light of the Lions’ current draft class has actually been third-round selection, Jonah Jackson. The versatile offensive guard out of Ohio State by way of Rutgers was recently named to the first-quarter All-Rookie Team by Pro Football Focus. Here’s what PFF’s Michael Renner had to say about Jackson’s play so far.
“The fact that Jackson has made two starts at right guard and two starts at left guard makes his standing here all the more impressive. He’s allowed only five pressures all season long, and some of those were just missed assignments.”
Ironically, Jonah Jackson wasn’t even the Detroit Lions’ first selection in the third round this year. That was Notre Dame pass rusher Julian Okwara, selected nine picks before Jackson. Okwara has played a total of 25 defensive snaps over three games so far this season.