We’re reaching the top of our countdown of the top Detroit Lions players on the 2020 roster. Today, we enter the 20s, which features a lot of starters, some significant backups and a lot of rotational players. Many of these players are returning from last year—some of whom are sliding down the rankings from last year, and a few who have made big jumps on this list.
Reminder about our methodology: Five Pride of Detroit writers ranked the roster from 1 to 90. Those rankings were then averaged to create a master list.
30. S Will Harris (Highest ranking: 26, Lowest ranking: 40)
Last year: 28
Will Harris isn’t likely lined up for a starting job this year after the Lions traded for Duron Harmon. In fact, his future with the team is a bit unknown at the moment after a rough season to start his NFL career.
That all being said, Harris will undoubtedly get some playing time this year, and if he can show a big Year 1 to Year 2 jump, maybe the Lions have something in the Will Harris — Tracy Walker duo.
29. CB/WR/PR Jamal Agnew (High: 22, Low: 43)
Last year: 26
It’s interesting to see Agnew this high on the list, given many believe he’s on the roster bubble right now. With a position transition from cornerback to wide receiver, the Lions are clearly trying to see if they can get more production out of him than on special teams.
That all being said, he’s coming off a season in which he scored twice on special teams. He made a pretty good case for his value last season, but will he be able to prove he’s a better option with some of the speed the Lions have added this offseason?
28. G Kenny Wiggins (High: 27, Low: 34)
Last year: 37
Wiggins wasn’t a starter last year, but he still jumped nine spots in our ranking this year because he was heavily featured in the ever-popular guard rotation last year. Despite the success from both Joe Dahl and Graham Glasgow, the Lions felt Wiggins was good enough to warrant around
27. DT Nick Williams (High: 21, Low: 45)
Last year: N/A
Nick Williams was hailed by the Lions as one of their biggest signings in free agency. Seeing as the Lions let A’Shawn Robinson and Damon Harrison Sr. go this offseason, they’ll need him to be a quite literal big force.
Williams truly only has one season of significant contributions at the professional level, but he was quite good for the Bears last year. The Lions will be relying upon him to play at least at the level of Robinson, but hopefully even better.
26. G Jonah Jackson (High: 19, Low: 44)
Last year: N/A
Jackson, the Lions’s second third-round selection this year, is the lowest draft pick expected to start in his rookie year. Due to the shortened offseason, his ascent to the starting lineup may be slower than normal, but, still, the former Buckeye should be among the starting five by the season’s end.
Jackson comes to Detroit after a successful season at Ohio State and a few good years at Rutgers. Capable of playing left or right guard, it’s still not exactly clear which position he’ll be playing in 2020.
25. DE Romeo Okwara (High: 25, Low: 30)
Last year: 21
Okwara drops a couple spots in this year’s ranking. Maybe it’s due to a better roster in the top 20, maybe it’s due to his sack numbers dropping from 7.5 in 2018 to just 1.5 last year. Okay, it probably has more to do with that.
Still, Okwara figures to be a part of the defensive end rotation this year behind Trey Flowers. At just 25 years old, Okwara could still be reaching is full potential.
24. G Joe Dahl (High: 21, Low: 32)
Last year: 38
In 2019, Dahl became a full-time starter for the first time in his career. For a fifth-round pick, that’s a pretty impressive accomplishment, and it earned him a two-year extension last year.
His role in the future, however, is up in the air. He’ll likely enter training camp as the starter at left guard, but with rookies Logan Stenberg and the aforementioned Jackson, he may fall back to a reserve role sooner rather than later.
23. EDGE Julian Okwara (High: 20, Low: 27)
Last year: N/A
No 2020 draft pick was more popular among Lions fans than the selection of Notre Dame edge defender Julian Okwara. The pick received an A grade from 74 percent of voters in a poll of nearly 3,000 Lions fans.
Immediately, he’ll likely fight for playing time at the jack linebacker position, previously held by the recently released Devon Kennard. He’ll likely share some time with 2019 fourth-round pick Austin Bryant and free agent addition Jamie Collins Sr.
22. CB Amani Oruwariye (High: 14, Low: 25)
Last year: 32
Oruwariye lands on this as the highest-ranked backup. Oruwariye projects to be third on the depth chart among outside cornerbacks—behind veteran Desmond Trufant and third-overall pick Jeff Okudah—but there’s honestly no guarantee Oruwariye holds that position. Free agent addition Darryl Roberts comes with a bit more experience and some special teams value.
Still, Oruwariye looked mostly promising in his rookie season, pulling in two interceptions and tallying three passes defended. Fans remain hopeful of the fifth-round pick, believing he was drafted way too late in the process last year.
21. LB Jahlani Tavai (High: 13, Low: 25)
Last year: 29
Tavai’s rookie season was pretty uneventful, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. He got plenty of experience, but didn’t jump out of the film in good nor bad ways. He’ll likely get more time this year as one of the many moving pieces at the linebacker level. Though he’ll likely best fit in the middle, don’t be surprised to see Detroit move him around.