‘Tis the season.
Visions of an actual pass rush may dance in the heads of Lions fans, but whether or not that could become a reality in Detroit for the 2020 season isn’t totally in their own hands.
The fate of Chase Young—the highly-coveted, uber-talented defensive end from Ohio State—is going to be determined over the course of the next two weeks. Five teams have sort of separated themselves from the rest of the pack come draft season, and with the exception of the quarterback-needy Cincinnati Bengals, every team in the top five would be thrilled to have a player like Young lining up on the edge.
With games against Denver and Green Bay remaining, and the Lions without many of their starters, the likelihood of the team losing out seems pretty likely. Detroit has a realistic shot of moving all the way up to the second pick in next April’s NFL Draft. The path to that pick will become much clearer after Week 16, and Jeremy Reisman broke down how that scenario could play itself out here.
But let’s say the Lions end up with that third overall pick. That, kiddos, leads us to today’s Question of the Day.
If not Chase Young, then who?
Chances are the Lions end up with the third overall pick in the draft, and the likelihood of the best player in the draft making his way past two teams seems pretty improbable. Sure, the Bengals are probably going to draft Heisman winner Joe Burrow with the first pick, but the Giants and Washington both drafted their quarterback of the future in the first round of last year’s draft. Should either of those teams finish ahead of Detroit in the draft order, Chase Young will surely be plucked from the list of available talent.
So let’s paint what would be a nightmare before Christmas scenario for Lions fans: Young is out from under the tree and you’re stuck watching your sibling play with their shiny new toy. Which box is going to quell your discontent and jealousy?
As tantalizing as it would be to go with CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy, it’s a bit early to take a wide receiver or skill position player in general. Look at what the Lions were able to accomplish by plugging in Danny Amendola and you won’t find anyone claiming that the receivers were the reason Detroit wasn’t a successful football team.
Unless the team is moving on from Taylor Decker and/or Rick Wagner, it’s a tough sell on another offensive lineman in the first round. Save it with taking a quarterback, that isn’t the rub here. And since the Lions have their second round pick, you could talk me into Detroit taking a skill position player there.
Ultimately, the Lions need help in the worst way on defense, and even though the best defensive talent is off the board, the team can prepare for life without Darius Slay by taking a teammate of Young with their first-round pick.
Jeffrey Okudah—a cornerback from Ohio State—would be a perfect fit for Matt Patricia’s man-heavy coverage scheme.
Jeffrey Okudah: Laid back dude.— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 29, 2019
The @OhioStateDB gets pick No. 2 of the evening from the turf: pic.twitter.com/cDQaCNl8qC