DETROIT – The Detroit Lions have a laundry list of needs to fill in the middle rounds of the 2020 NFL draft, and that happens to be where most of the prospects from Michigan and Michigan State expect to be selected.
Detroit specifically needs help on both lines of scrimmage. The defensive line was atrocious in terms of getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, while the offensive line struggled and lost a strong interior player in Graham Glasgow during the offseason.
The Lions have the No. 67 pick in the third round. They also picked up the No. 85 overall pick when they traded Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles.
It’s possible the Lions could replace one University of Michigan offensive lineman with another by drafting Ben Bredeson.
Bredeson checks every single box in terms of character and leadership. He was a two-time captain, a four-year starter and one of the biggest presences in the Michigan locker room for years.
From when he started as a true freshman to his final snap of senior year, Bredeson was one of the best offensive linemen for the Wolverines, and that includes a group that has had all five starters earn Big Ten honors in back-to-back season.
Bredeson was a coveted lineman the moment he stepped on campus, but the tutelage of Ed Warinner helped him grown tremendously the final two years.
While Bredeson isn’t necessarily projected to go in the third round by many of the experts, neither was Glasgow, and Bredeson is even more accomplished coming out of the same system.
From Michigan State, the Lions could choose between a pair of defensive linemen who would greatly boost the pass rush.
Kenny Willekes was Michigan State’s most productive player the last three seasons, racking up a total of 228 tackles, 49 tackles for loss and 23.5 sacks. He’s a terror in the backfield and also has some versatility that allows him to play a hybrid defensive end-linebacker role.
Raequan Williams’ numbers don’t jump off the screen quite as much, but he was extremely disruptive on the interior of Michigan State’s defensive line. A four-year contributor, Williams finished his college career with 157 tackles, 29 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.
Detroit lost run stuffing specialist Damon Harrison this offseason, so Williams might be the more perfect fit, but Willekes was certainly more productive in college.
There are a host of other players available at both positions and plenty of other needs for the Lions, so there’s a good chance they don’t end up with any Michigan or Michigan State players. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see any of these linemen end up in the Honolulu Blue, thought. They’re good enough to warrant the selection and fill needs.