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Detroit Lions take Notre Dame LB Julian Okwara with first selection in third round of 2020 NFL draft

Okwara taken with No. 67 overall pick

Julian Okwara #42 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in action on defense during a game against the USC Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium on October 12, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated USC 30-27.
Julian Okwara #42 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in action on defense during a game against the USC Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium on October 12, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated USC 30-27. (2019 Getty Images)

DETROIT – The Detroit Lions have drafted Notre Dame linebacker Julian Okwara with their first selection in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft.

Okwara was selected with the No. 67 overall pick.

His brother, Romeo Okwara, is a defensive end for the Lions who had 1.5 sacks last season and 7.5 sacks in 2018.

On Thursday, the Lions selected Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah with the No. 3 overall pick in the first round. He filled a hole in the secondary left by Darius Slay, who the Lions shipped to Philadelphia for a third-round pick.

Earlier Friday night, the Lions made Georgia running back D’Andre Swift their second-round selection, with pick No. 35. Swift was widely considered to be the top running back prospect in this year’s draft class.

Detroit has another third-round pick -- No. 85 overall -- from the Slay trade.

The team entered Friday night with needs on both sides of the line of scrimmage, as well as linebacker and running back. Detroit could also use more help alongside Okudah in the secondary.

Head coach Matt Patricia is feeling pressure to win now after finishing 3-12-1 in his second season with the Lions. General manager Bob Quinn figures to be on a similar hot seat after hiring Patricia and seeing him go just 9-22-1 over the last two years.

An injury to quarterback Matthew Stafford derailed the 2019-20 season, but the Lions’ losing tradition dates back 63 years. Since winning the championship in 1957, the Lions have made the playoffs just 12 times, going 1-12 with one divisional round win in January 1992.

The Lions made the postseason three times in six seasons from 2011 to 2016, but haven’t been back since.


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