A look at the Detroit Lions projected starters before the NFL draft

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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John Penisini, Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions defensive tackle John Penisini (91) Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports /

Defensive Line/EDGE

Projected Starter(s): Trey Flowers, John Penisini, Micheal Brockers, Romeo Okwara

Draft probability: Medium

I’m assuming the Lions are switching to a 3-4 base with a lot of nickel usage. If that’s the case then expect those four that are listed above to be the starters. Detroit could go for a prospect like defensive tackle Christian Barmore. When they want to go for more of a pass-rushing attack, rotating Penisini and Barmore would be effective.

I could also see the Lions drafting another nose tackle for depth in the later rounds. As well as an edge rusher in the earlier rounds to pair with defensive end Romeo Okwara. At the same time, Detroit has other pressing needs and the defensive line could be ignored.

The Lions also have some solid depth with the position group. Defensive tackles Nick Williams and Da’Shawn Hand could prove to be solid rotation players. Edge rusher Julian Okwara can sub in on both sides of the field too. They also have a wild-card in defensive end Austin Bryant.

Off-Ball Linebacker

Projected Starter(s): Jamie Collins, Alex Anzalone

Draft probability: High

Linebacker Jamie Collins’ contract restructure means that he will be here for a few years. On the other hand linebacker Alex Anzalone is on a one-year deal. Depth is also weak.

With premier draft prospects in linebackers Micah Parsons, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Jamin Davis, and Nick Bolton the Lions will have their opportunities to get one.


Projected Starter(s): Jeff Okudah, Amani Oruwariye (or Quinton Dunbar), Corn Elder

Draft probability: Low

This is a sneaky good nickel cornerback class, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lions got their hands on one of them. However, I’m a huge fan of slot corner Corn Elder and would like to see him as the starter.

I don’t see them looking at any outside corners unless their name is Patrick Surtain. I believe Detroit should give cornerbacks Jeffrey Okudah and Amani Oruwariye a chance to grow. They also have cornerback Quinton Dunbar as a veteran presence.