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NFL Draft Weekend

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Lions draft defensive end Julian Okwara

It's a family reunion in Detroit for the Okwara family.

Current Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara is welcoming his younger brother, Julian, to the Lions family after the Lions selected the younger Okwara with their first pick in the third round Friday night, the 67th overall pick in the draft.

"It's awesome," Julian said of joining his older brother in Detroit. "I've always dreamed about this, so it's definitely a dream come true. I'm pretty much speechless. I'm still kind of letting it marinate, think about it tonight and probably will wake up tomorrow and really let it sit in."

Julian joked at the Combine back in February that he'd expect free rent from his older brother if he came to Detroit. He doubled down on those remarks Friday night.

"Oh yeah, 100 percent. It's happening," he said. "I wasn't joking. So I'm looking forward to living a rent-free year."

Okwara led the Irish with 12.5 tackles for loss and tied for the team lead with eight sacks among his 38 total tackles in 2018. Unfortunately, a broken leg cut his 2019 season short, but he's a long, lanky, athletic speed rusher off the edge. He's got some quick-twitch and bend to his game.

"They're getting a pass rusher, great defensive end, someone who wreaks havoc in the backfield," Okwara said of what Lions fans can expect from his game. "I'm looking forward to that ... on and off the field. I'm a dominant player. I love to win games. I'm looking forward to bringing a championship to Detroit."

Okwara has good size (6-4, 252) and has some versatility to his game as a traditional defensive end or a stand-up, on the ball rusher in Matt Patricia's defense.

He said he's completely healed from the broken leg and ready to go whenever players are allowed back in Allen Park.

He will improve with NFL coaching, in terms of technique and his repertoire of pass-rush moves, but he's got a high ceiling due to his size and athleticism. Most analysts described him as a high-risk, high-reward player.

Okwara recorded 77 tackles, 23.0 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in three and a half seasons in South Bend.

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