Five possible Detroit Lions 2020 draft prospects: Week 1

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Jeffrey Okudah

Allen Park — Each week during the college football season, we'll be highlighting five prospects with locally-televised matchups who could be a fit for the Detroit Lions in the 2020 NFL Draft, based on the team's projected needs.

Every week, the list will aim to highlight a variety of early-, mid- and late-round prospects. This will give you a chance to watch the players performing live, instead of playing catch-up the weeks before the draft.

Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State (No. 1)

Florida Atlantic at No. 5 Ohio State, noon Saturday, FOX

The Lions found a stopgap at corner this year, signing veteran Rashaan Melvin to a one-year deal, but that addition did nothing to alleviate the team's long-term need at the position. It's early, so there are still varying opinions about the top of this class, but more than a handful of analysts have Okudah as the No. 1 corner to start the year.

Listed at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, the true junior enters the year with 27 games of experience under his belt. Tough to beat in man coverage, he broke up eight passes last season, including a pair in the Rose Bowl. He'll need to show an ability to pick some of those passes off to validate he's the best pro prospect at his position. 

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama (No. 11)

No. 2 Alabama vs. Duke (at Atlanta), 3:30 p.m. Saturday, ABC

Wide receiver is setting up to be another position of need in Detroit. The team has little depth behind its starting trio, Danny Amendola is on a one-year deal and Marvin Jones carries a $9.1 million cap hit in 2020, where his release would clear $6.5 million off the books. 

Ruggs is actually in line to be the second Alabama receiver drafted, behind teammate Jerry Jeudy, but the former is a big-play speed merchant who found the end zone on nearly a quarter of his 46 receptions in 2018. 

Added bonus, Ruggs has the versatility to play outside or in the slot. 

K.J. Costello

K.J. Costello, QB, Stanford (No. 3)

Northwestern at No. 25 Stanford, 4 p.m. Saturday, FOX

If the Lions are going to stay the course with Matthew Stafford, and we'll assume that's for the time being, the franchise still needs to seriously consider drafting and developing a viable backup. Costello has a good frame for the position, standing 6-foot-5, and the necessary arm strength to succeed in the NFL.

As a junior in 2018, Costello completed better than 65 percent of his throws with a healthy 29-to-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio. 

Calvin Throckmorton, OT, Oregon (No. 54)

No. 16 Auburn vs. No. 11 Oregon (at Arlington), 7:30 p.m. Saturday, ABC

The more immediate concern along Detroit's offensive line is at guard, but the future of the team's tackles is far from certain. Barring an extension, Taylor Decker will be playing on final year of his rookie deal in 2020, while Rick Wagner will be entering his age 30 season, where his release could free up $6.1 million in cap space. 

Throckmorton offers versatility, having played guard, center, right tackle and left tackle for the Ducks. He's both a durable and clean performer, having started the past 38 games, while allowing just one sack in the past two years. In 2018, he impressively went without committing a penalty, despite playing more than 1,000 snaps. 

Curtis Weaver, LB, Boise State (No. 99)

Boise State at Florida State, noon Saturday, ESPN News

You can never have enough pass rushers and the 265-pound Weaver has 20.5 sacks over the past two seasons. Beyond the sacks, he brings steady pressure, disrupting the passer 56 times in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus. With a thick frame, he also has the necessary build to set a stout edge when defending the run. 

Florida State's shaky offensive line and up-tempo offense should provide Weaver plenty of opportunity to make an impact under the primetime lights.