Julian Okwara

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/22/20

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/21/20

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Matt Pryor

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Lions Sign Julian Okwara

The Lions have officially signed rookie Julian Okwara, per a club announcement. The third-round defensive end out of Notre Dame should be able to get acclimated faster than your average NFL frosh – he’ll have help from his brother and new teammate, Romeo Okwara.

According to Pro Football Focus, Okwara posted a 23% pass-rush win rate in each of his last two collegiate seasons, one of the very best in the country. His broken leg hurt his draft stock in April, but the Lions believe that they scored a major value in the Notre Dame product. With tremendous speed, Okwara profiles as a promising pass rusher. If he can bulk up and improve against the run, the Lions may have a future star on their hands.

The Lions have now inked three of their draft picks, as shown in PFR’s 2020 NFL Draft Tracker:

Detroit Lions

1-3: Jeffrey Okudah, CB (Ohio State)
2-35: D’Andre Swift, RB (Georgia)
3-67: Julian Okwara, OLB (Notre Dame): Signed
3-75: Jonah Jackson, G (Ohio State)
4-121: Logan Stenberg, OL (Kentucky): Signed
5-166: Quintez Cephus, WR (Wisconsin)
5-172: Jason Huntley, RB (New Mexico State)
6-197: John Penisini, DT (Utah): Signed
7-235: Jason Cornell, DE (Ohio State)

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Rumors: Hurts, Giants, Jags, Tua

With the draft in less than 24 hours, several names have started to surface as potential first-round upsets. It would not surprise some around the league to see TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor and Notre Dame tight end Cole Kmet end up as first-round picks, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes. The Eagles have surfaced as a Reagor candidate; the TCU product clocked two sub-4.3-second 40-yard dashes recently. The tight end class is not viewed to be nearly as strong, but an AFC coach said Kmet’s landing spot will likely be in the back end of the first round or start of the second.

Notre Dame pass rusher Julian Okwara and Ohio State cornerback Damon Arnette profile as players who could sneak into Round 1, per Pelissero. One exec compared Romeo Okwara‘s younger brother to an Anthony Barr type who could rush passers and drop into coverage. Julian Okwara registered 12 sacks over the past two seasons. Arnette would join Jeffrey Okudah as a first-rounder in this instance and follow a host of recent Buckeye corners by being a Thursday-night draftee. Arnette started 38 games in his Ohio State career.

Here is the latest from the draft world:

  • While Jalen Hurts is not expected to creep into the first round, Pelissero notes some NFL personnel believe he will go higher than most predict (Twitter link). So will Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr., Pelissero adds. ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Hurts going off the board at No. 49 overall to the Steelers; Scouts Inc. grades the dual-threat quarterback as its No. 94 overall prospect. The Packers, Chargers and Raiders are among the teams believed to be interested. Winfield (29th per Scouts Inc.) is a second-generation NFLer, the son of former Vikings Pro Bowl corner Antoine Winfield. The younger Winfield intercepted seven passes last year and is also seen as a player who, like his father, could move into the slot.
  • Ex-Hurts teammate Tua Tagovailoa is “very well-regarded” in New England, per Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. However, Curran also believes the scenario NBC Sports’ Peter King suggested of the Patriots moving up to No. 13 (the 49ers’ slot) to draft a falling Tagovailoa doesn’t make much sense for the team, due to the Pats’ various other needs. Tagovailoa may now be back in play for the Dolphins at No. 5 anyway.
  • Buzz has surfaced about the Giants having a trade partner. While it is not certain the Jaguars are that team, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets several GMs have pointed to the Giants moving down from No. 4 and the Jags climbing up from No. 8. The Giants are believed to be serious about wanting to move down. Although the Jaguars are believed to be planning to give Gardner Minshew a legitimate opportunity, JLC speculates a move up would be for a quarterback.
  • This draft could well see five tackles taken in the first round. With Hall of Fame executive Gil Brandt listing Ezra Cleveland as a player who will go higher than expected, NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo adds that the Boise State tackle is a “mortal lock” to be chosen in Round 1 (Twitter link). The Browns were believed to be eyeing Cleveland, which would be a fun fit. If they pass on a tackle at No. 10, the Browns may need to consider making an early move back into Round 1 for the rising player.