5 former Detroit Lions draft picks who will not be on the team in 2024

As the Detroit Lions continue their rise and further bolster their roster in the offseason, these five former draft picks won't be on the team in 2024.

Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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2. LB Julian Okwara

Going back to his final year at Notre Dame, injuries have marked Okwara's career. There's no denying his potential (five sacks in 2021, a preseason game against the Giants this year), he just hasn't been able to fully deliver on it.

After spending the first four weeks on IR, Okwara had two sacks in his first three games this season. Given the broad struggles of the Lions pass rush, it was easy to call for him to play more coming out of the bye week.

That has not happened. Okwara has been a healthy scratch for as many games as he has played (three each) since the bye week. He has zero sacks and one quarterback hit over 44 defensive snaps in the three games he has played, and his being a healthy scratch as often as he has is a sign the coaching staff doesn't think he's bringing it in practice.

Okwara is one of the last vestiges of Bob Quinn's final draft as Lions' general manager (along with guard Jonah Jackson). A looming free agent, Okwara won't be back next year.

1. DT Levi Onwuzurike

Holmes took Onwuzurike, who had gotten a little bit of first round buzz, in the second round of the 2021 draft. A back injury that dated back to his college days bothered him as rookie, but he still played 16 games.

A second-year breakout was easy to eye for Onwuzurike, on the idea he'd be fully healthy. But the back issue flared up early in the first padded practice of 2022 training camp, eventually leading to season-ending surgery. And it was a major surgery.

Coming off by what by all accounts was a strong (and most importantly, healthy) training camp this year, Onwuzurike seemed to have a chance finally make a noticeable impact in Year 3. But it has not come to fruition, as he has hardly played in the nine games he has suited up in thus far (107 snaps) and he's been a healthy scratch six times.

Onwuzurike, as the 41st pick in 2021, will have one more year left on his rookie contract after this year. But it's getting more and more difficult to imagine he'll be playing next season in a Lions' uniform, however that ultimately looks.

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