The Detroit Lions entered the 2021 NFL Draft with several roster needs to fill. That being due to a new regime in Motown installing a new front office, coaching staff, and making several changes to the roster this season.
In what new general manager Brad Holmes is calling a retooling is actually another rebuild in the Motor City. And prior to the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday night, it’s been more like deconstruction. Holmes, new head coach Dan Campbell, and a slew of new faces within the organization have gone about the business of reshaping the roster in Detroit over the last few months.
The biggest change coming under center with the trade of longtime quarterback Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams. Ever since the Lions’ new regime has continued to tear down last year’s roster into something new. And the building part of the rebuild didn’t really start until this past Thursday night.
The Lions used their first-round selection in the draft to take the top offensive lineman in the draft class, Oregon’s Penei Sewell. The 20-year old is not only the first draft pick for the new regime, but will slot in at starting right tackle and join center Frank Ragnow and left tackle Tayler Decker as the third first-rounder spent on arguably the league’s most talented offensive line since 2016.
Entering day two of the NFL draft on Friday night, the Lions possessed three selections in the second and third rounds. And with the first pick of the three, the 41st overall selection in round two, Detroit drafted Washington defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike.
At 6-foot-3, 288-pounds, Onwuzurike is a high motor interior defender who was a two-year starter playing mainly at nose tackle at Washington. In Detroit, he figures to slot besides new arrival Michael Brockers and should aid a Lions’ defense that ranked 28th against the run in 2020. Onwuzurike recorded 45 total tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, and 2.0 sacks in 12 games as a junior in 2019.