Prospective NFL stars of tomorrow ran 40-yard dashes, bench pressed, and did a bunch of other drills in an effort to improve their draft stock. We all know that’s why we’re here: the numbers to definitively say one player is faster, stronger, more agile than another. But with all the tape available, it’s simply a matter of checking off boxes, and as our own Combine expert Kent Lee Platte mentioned on our PODcast last week, the most important boxes are the medicals.
All of that information is out there now, and with the exception of participating in Pro Day workouts to either get some numbers out there or remedy a poor Combine performance, teams are sorting out their draft boards to prepare for April’s NFL Draft.
For the Detroit Lions, there are plenty of scenarios that could end up playing themselves out for a team looking to right the course sooner rather than later, so the thought that turned into today’s Question of the Day is...
Who should the Lions absolutely not draft in the first round?
Let’s not get too deep into the hypotheticals. No draft-day trades, none of that prognostication. Who should the Detroit Lions absolutely avoid drafting with the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft if they hope to be playoff contenders next season?
It’s Derrick Brown. The answer is Derrick Brown from Auburn.
To be clear, I like Brown as a prospect. I think he could be the best interior defensive lineman available from the moment the draft starts. He has Pro Bowl—maybe even All Pro—potential written all over him and his 6-foot-4, 326 pound frame. The problem with Detroit drafting Brown at three? He’s a nose tackle.
An important position in Patricia’s scheme nonetheless, a tried and true run-stuffer in the middle of his defense makes a world of difference as evidenced with the way Damon Harrison Sr. single-handedly helped turn around the defense in 2018—and also saw the defense take a significant step back in 2019.
So why not Brown at 3? Jeff Okudah is likely going to be available and contract extension talk doesn’t seem to be going so well with Darius Slay. Chase Young might be there, and he’s the best player in the draft. Isaiah Simmons and all of his versatility is going to be there when the Lions are making their most important draft pick in over a decade.
Derrick Brown is a DT prospect in the 2020 draft class out of Auburn.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 1, 2020
He posted a good #RAS with elite size, okay speed, okay explosiveness, very poor agility at the DT position.https://t.co/q507A2vlAK pic.twitter.com/cwizkR4hGT
Derrick Brown is a big guy, who measured pretty poorly at the Combine, and if Detroit needs someone to clog up the running lanes, it can be had at a much cheaper cost than the third overall pick. The Lions could open up their pocketbook for D.J. Reader or Danny Shelton in free agency. Detroit could wait a couple rounds and select a player like Leki Fotu to man the middle of their defensive front. Frankly, there are other more tenable options, whereas players like Okudah, Young, and Simmons are extremely unique and more critical to the success of a faster, modern NFL.
Please, for the sake of this franchise now and moving forward, a nose tackle with “okay” athleticism is not something this team should spend the third overall pick on.