Spike of defensive picks in the third round of the draft

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Detriot Lions wide reciever Kenny Golladay makes a catch past Baltimore Ravens safety Marlon Humphrey during the first quarter of the NFL Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (Jason Beede/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

Daniel Suarez Jr., Staff Writer

To kick off the third round of the 2020 NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals have selected inside linebacker Logan Wilson of Wyoming. Wilson, a three-time team captain, will join North Carolina State linebacker Germaine Pratt, next season.

Wilson’s speed and athleticism enable him to make open-field tackles against better runners and effectively read quarterbacks in the pocket.

In 2019, he demonstrated his ability to consistently stuff the run in the backfield adding testament to his knowledge of the game and the offenses he faces.

This was Cincinnati’s first defensive pick in the 2020 virtual draft, after picking LSU quarterback prospect Joe Burrow, followed by 6’4” WR Tee Higgins who averaged 18 yards per carry while at Clemson.

Picking second was the Washington Redskins, who decided on Antonio Gibson, the 6’2″ WR from Memphis University. While Gibson only had 44 receptions in his two years at Memphis, he could still pose a versatile addition to any team being the running back and slot receiver hybrid we saw last year.

When Gibson got the call from Washington Redskins spokesperson Larry Mitchell, he excitedly stated, “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life.” He was only the second player selected by the Redskins after exchanging their 2nd round pick with the Indianapolis Colts.

In that conversation, Gibson also revealed that he’s originally from Washington DC and will be joining his mother and sister at home. “Wherever (Redskins) decide to put me, I’m gonna dominate,” he said.

Detroit was also looking to strengthen their defense with outside linebacker Julian Okwara from Notre Dame. The Lions are seemingly attracted by Okwara’s potential as an edge rusher and DE, having earned 23 tackles for loss, 15 sacks and 35 quarterback hurries, making him a great selection for the 67th overall pick.

The Detroit Lions also drafted Okwara’s brother, Romeo, in the previous 2018 NFL draft.

A video posted on Roc Nation Sports’ Twitter shows Julian talking to the Lions organization as he’s drafted. After he puts the phone down, Julian turns to his brother behind the camera and says “We bout to be roommates bro!”

There was definitely a spike of defensive picks in the 3rd round, several of which were linebackers such as Zack Baun from Wisconsin, who was picked up by the New Orleans Saints and Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis drafted by the Los Angeles Rams.

The Raiders, who did not pick in the second round, drafted three wide receivers in a row after using their double pick in the 3rd round on Lynn Bowden Jr. from Kentucky and Bryan Edwards from South Carolina.

Las Vegas’ strategy must be to increase Carr’s arsenal downfield, but their defense was ranked 24th in the 2019 season by Pro-Football Reference. Having gone 7-9 last season, the Raiders could have used one of the 3rd round pick on solid defensive players like Neville Gilmore from Oklahoma or Anerfree Jennings from Alabama.

They will still have plenty of picks for defensive reinforcement, but another WR pick is unlikely for Las Vegas.

One of the noteworthy offensive picks was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafting Clemson RB Ke’Shawn Vaugn, yet another potential weapon in the new Buc offense led by Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.

What most sports commentators are interested in is how Vaugn fits with Brady’s offensive dynamic. His strengths are primarily his catch and run and pass block, but some commentators including CBS sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones feel that this third-round pick came as a surprise.