After bolstering the offensive line in Round 1 with the selection of Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell, general manager Brad Holmes turned his attention to the defense with the selection of Washington defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike.
"I mean, the trenches are arguably the most important position group in football," Onwuzurike said of following Sewell as Detroit's second pick in this draft.
"It's an honor to play with the Lions. I think the Lions are trying to build some [thing] right here and we have two good parts to build that."
A two-year starter at Washington, Onwuzurike lined up primarily as a nose tackle, but has the size, skill set and versatility to line up all over the defensive front. He said in a Zoom call after the pick that the biggest attributes he brings to Detroit are disruptiveness and speed.
He recorded 45 tackles from the interior in 2019 with six tackles for loss and a couple sacks. Onwuzurike opted out of the 2020 season.
"I don't have a sense of where they'll play me, but just like you said, I can play anywhere," Onwuzurike said. "I've played everywhere in the past, so just I'm ready to be a one (technique), three, zero, five, nine, 10, whatever."
He has a good burst off the snap and makes plays away from his gap due to his effort and athleticism. He had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, and was one of the best defensive linemen early on in Mobile. On Day 1 at the Senior Bowl in one-on-one reps, Onwuzurike shot off the ball so fast, he got by Notre Dame offensive lineman Robert Hainsey before Hainsey could even get out of his stance.
Onwuzurike is an interesting prospect with a lot of physical traits and huge upside the Lions will certainly try to tap into over the next couple months. The Lions recorded only four sacks from the interior last season, so Holmes was looking to bolster that pass-rush production.
"I think get off and strength," Onwuzurike said of what he brings to the table in Detroit. "Those are the two most important things as a d-lineman and I got both of those."
View photos of the Lions' 2nd round pick, Levi Onwuzurike, DT - Washington.