Lions trade up, fill another need by taking guard Jonah Jackson
The Lions continued to cross key needs off the shopping list in the 2020 NFL Draft, trading up 10 spots to snag Ohio State guard Jonah Jackson with the No. 75 pick in the third round on Friday.
To move up to No. 75, the Lions sent the Indianapolis Colts picks No. 85, 149 and 182. Detroit also got back pick No. 197 in the swap. The team had previously acquired the 85th choice in the trade that sent cornerback Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Lions got a close look at Jackson in the early stages of the pre-draft process, coaching him at the Senior Bowl.
"The amount of knowledge that I was able gain in that six days of practice was incredible," Jackson said. "Just the different techniques that you have to use against the bigger cats in the league. (Offensive line) Coach (Hank) Fraley definitely has his guys in Detroit teed up, and I’m ready to get teed up with them.”
A graduate transfer from Rutgers, Jackson thrived in his one season with the Buckeyes, while adding some versatility to the resume. A right guard at Rutgers, he flipped to the left side of the line in 2019.
"I went to Ohio State just looking for opportunity, just to be able to showcase my ability and pounce on another platform," Jackson said. "I felt like it definitely helped me."
His footwork and balance are top-notch. Known for his ability to protect the passer, Jackson allowed a single sack the past three seasons and fewer than 10 pass-rush pressures each year during that stretch.
"(It's) just constant practice," Jackson said. "Thousands and thousands of reps. Every single day, you have to hone in on your craft, on each side, and even the center position, all three interior positions, just to keep your versatility up and the flexibility for coaches to be able to see that."
The 6-foot-3, 306-pounder immediately becomes the front-runner to replace Graham Glasgow in Detroit's starting lineup. Jackson will compete with a group of veterans for the job that includes Kenny Wiggins, Oday Aboushi and former first-round pick Joshua Garnett.
The Lions are in the midst of revamping the right side of their offensive line this offseason after losing Glasgow in free agency and releasing offensive tackle Rick Wagner.
The team signed Halapoulivaati Vaitai to a five-year, $45 million deal to fill one of the spots, presumably right tackle given the contract terms.