A day after drafting Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell in the first round, the Lions addressed their defensive trench with the No. 41 overall pick and selected Washington defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike in the second round.
Measuring in at 6-foot-3, 290 pounds at his pro day, Onwuzurike is considered a quick, penetrating interior lineman, directly addressing one of Detroit’s bigger roster deficiencies.
Like Sewell, Onwuzurike opted out of the 2020 season. In 2019, he tallied 45 tackles, including six behind the line of scrimmage. In three seasons with the Huskies, he tallied seven sacks.
“The Huskies moved him around in their scheme, but I believe he’s best suited as a 3-technique, on the edge of the guard,” former scout and NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah wrote. “He has an explosive first step and very quick hands against the pass. He flashes a twitchy slap/swim move, but there are times when he doesn’t have a plan and gets stuck.
“He can drive interior blockers right back to the quarterback when he comes off the ball with his pads low to the ground. Against the run, he plays much bigger than his size. He can stack single opponents with one arm and refuses to stay blocked. He has lateral range and his effort is phenomenal.”
Effort and grit have been the focus of Lions general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell as they shape the roster in their vision.
Among the analyst comparisons for Onwuzurike are former first-round pick and Pro Bowler Sheldon Richardson and Justin Madubuike, a third-round pick from a year ago.
Onwuzurike is the second major addition to the interior of the team’s defensive line, following the offseason trade for Michael Brockers. Nick Williams, a free agent last offseason, and John Penisini, a sixth-round draft pick in 2020, round out the projected rotation.
In addition to the Onwuzurike pick, the Lions also hold the No. 72 and No. 101 choices in the third round.
Prior to Detroit’s pick there were four trades in the early stages of the second round. The Jaguars kicked off the evening by grabbing Georgia cornerback Tyson Campbell.
Other players who came off the board ahead of Onwuzurike on Friday night were wide receiver Elijah Moore, running back Javonte Williams, safety Jevon Holland, offensive lineman Landon Dickerson, defensive tackle Christian Barmore, offensive tackle Teven Jenkins and safety Richie Grant.