A dozen players who could make sense for Detroit Lions on Day 2 of the NFL Draft

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

The Detroit Lions weren't able to make a trade in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, so the team will enter Day 2 on Friday with the same three selections they had to start the event. 

After adding Jeff Okudah with the No. 3 pick, the Lions still have several needs to address. Once again holding the day's third choice, No. 35 overall, the team should be able to cross another line off the shopping list. 

Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa could be an option for the Lions in Friday's second and third rounds of the NFL Draft.

Detroit also owns picks No. 67 and 85 in the third round, the latter added when the franchise sent cornerback Darius Slay to the Philadelphia last month.

Will the team continue to bolster its defense, snag one of the receivers from this deep class or upgrade the offense line? Here are 12 prospects who could make sense for Detroit in the next two rounds. 

A.J. Epenesa, edge, Iowa

The Lions' pass rush is sorely lacking, and while Epenesa isn't a guy that's going to win with speed off the edge, he fits the mold of what the team desires at the position, using his length and power to both defend the run and bully blockers back into the pocket. 

The biggest concern might be the overlap with Trey Flowers. Both players take most of their reps on the right side of the defense and play with similar skill sets. Flowers doesn't need many breaks, so Epenesa would have to shift to the left side. He also can slide inside on clear passing downs. 

Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU

After passing up on Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw at the top of the draft in favor of Okudah, Detroit likely is still looking to put the finishing touches on its offseason makeover of the defensive interior. 

If it's me, I'm calling Kansas City and double-checking the price to acquire Chris Jones, even if it would probably cost this year's second, next year's second and a massive extension for the young star. 

But that's unlikely and the consensus is Blacklock is the best defensive tackle on the board. His body type and skill set might not be an ideal fit for Detroit's scheme, but his ability to get into the backfield would be a welcomed asset for an interior that struggled to generate pressure in 2019. 

► Robert Hunt, OL, Louisiana-Lafayette

The Lions have a slew of contenders to start at right guard, but none of the journeymen options inspire confidence as more than stopgap solutions. Hunt played like a bully at offensive tackle, but is projected to slide inside at the next level. Fortunately, he's played the position before, so the switch shouldn't be overwhelming. 

If the Lions are truly committed to running the ball, Hunt paired next to Vaitai is the way to go. 

Former USC receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (6) could be a long-term pairing with receiver Kenny Golladay in Detroit.

► Michael Pittman, WR, USC

Pittman's crisp route running and sure hands at his size might make you think of Michael Thomas, the high-volume producer for the New Orleans Saints. Pittman would give the Lions a long-term outside option to pair with Kenny Golladay, who the team hopes to sign to an extension this offseason. 

► Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

The first running back came off the board with the final pick of the opening round, and although there's a strong argument to be made for never making an early-round investment at the position, the Lions could have their pick of the class' top options in the second round. 

D'Andre Swift and J.K. Dobbins are both outstanding prospects, and more well-rounded than Taylor, but the Wisconsin back's north-south style, with impressive speed for his size, perfectly fits offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's wish list. 

► Darrell Taylor, edge, Tennessee

Another thickly built, powerful edge rusher for the Lions to consider. There's a lot of room for growth as a pass rusher, but you see more explosion and bend than you would get with Epenesa, even though it's still wildly inconsistent. Another plus is Taylor rushed primarily from the left side of the formation, so he's a better plug-and-play option opposite Flowers. 

► Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming

It's probably difficult to convince anyone the Lions are in the market for a linebacker, given how many they currently have on the roster, but general manager Bob Quinn shouldn't pass up a clear opportunity to upgrade. 

Wilson, a middle linebacker by trade, was always around the ball at Wyoming and flashed some of his well-rounded skill set at the Senior Bowl, playing for Detroit's coaches. He'd be an immediate star on special teams and could potentially be groomed as a starter if things don't come together for Jarrad Davis this year. 

► Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

Mims had a lot of first-round buzz after an awesome pre-draft process. He impressed at both the Senior Bowl and combine, rubber-stamping solid production during his time at Baylor. The Lions lack top-end athleticism in their corps, and if they feel they can iron out some of Mims' drop issues, there's a chance to land an all-level threat. 

► Jordan Elliott, DT, Missouri

Another interior option, Elliott is solid all the way around, but doesn't really have one skill that will have anyone writing home. In a multiple scheme like Detroit's, he's versatile enough to play a number of different techniques, penetrate attacking a single gap or anchor and defend two. 

Unlike many of the other options, Elliott's size isn't an issue. He has an NFL-ready frame. 

► Cam Akers, RB, Florida State

Akers struggled to get the most out of his talents at Florida State because his blocking was awful. With that kind of resume, he already sounds like a Lions running back. 

Possessing a thickly built frame at 5-foot-10, 212 pounds, Akers also has better than average jets, running under 4.5 seconds at the combine. If you're looking for the downside, you'd like to see better ball security. He simply had too many drops and fumbles. 

► Jonathan Greenard, edge, Florida

We're edge-heavy on this list, we admit it. But the Lions really need to come away with a pass-rush upgrade in these two rounds. Greenard has been around the block, coming to Florida as a graduate transfer before breaking his wrist in 2018 and gaining another year of eligibility.

Again, the build is right. At 265 pounds with arms stretching nearly 35 inches, you can live with average athleticism if you're the Lions. Tough and smart, he was also productive, racking up 10.0 sacks in his final college season. 

► Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois

For the Isaiah Simmons fan club, Chinn might be the next best thing. The supersized safety is an athletic marvel with long limbs and impressive range. He dominated a lower level of competition, generating interceptions at an impressive rate. Give him a year to slowly develop behind Harmon and Tracy Walker, similar to the way the latter did during his own rookie year, and you could have another long-term building block in the back end. 


Twitter: @Justin_Rogers