My Thoughts on How the Lions Did During the Draft.
Although the Lions only went through with one of my mock draft picks Frank Ragnow, I still believe that they did a pretty good job. I realized that as the draft went on I myself over-valued the Defensive Line position. For example, uber-productive DL Harrison Phillips who I projected to be taken in the first round by the Lions, didn't get taken until somewhere in the third round. Anyways, I'm going to go through each of the Lions picks and give you my general thoughts or concerns about it.
Frank Ragnow, Center, Arkansas
Let's Start with Frank Ragnow. The Lions had a clear position need on the offensive line with Travis Swanson gone, the Lions needed to sure-up the interior. They most certainly did with Ragnow. I have Frank filling in as a center, but he has the flexibility to move around. Like I said in my mock draft (linked above), he's a mauler at the point of attack and is a definite anchor for years to come. What I didn't understand was the grade the Lions received from taking him. A "C" is all that you're going to give the Lions when they haven't had a 100 yard rusher in years? Okay NFL network, hate on the pick all you want but I hope you guys swallow your words this-coming season, when we're able to actually run the ball.
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
Round 2 scared me a little bit, the Lions actually moved up 8 spots, from pick 19 to 11, to get former Auburn stud Kerryon Johnson. First off, I really want to see a fan-made poster or banner saying "Carry-On Johnson". His name does a good job of explaining exactly what he does. At 5' 11" 211 pounds he's just a tad bit underweight for my taste, but he can definitely add some weight and even out to 220.
While watching some of his highlights, he sometimes was very hesitant, sort of like Le'Veon Bell.
You'll see what I mean if you watch this:
I think he can elevate the current running back room for the Lions, as a rusher and as a receiver out of the backfield. During the season I expect a crazy running back rotation from the Lions.
Tracy Walker, DB, Louisiana-Lafayette
I'm going to be honest and say that I've never heard of this player, nor did I do any research on him. I didn't expect the Lions to get a defensive back in the third round, and not a lot of people did. I had no expectations that the Lions would've looked that early for a projected safety. From what I heard while watching the draft, he projects as a free safety. The pick somewhat makes sense to me because of Glover Quin's age (32), but with all of the other DB's and safeties on the roster, I'm still left scratching my head.
This feels like what the Lions did last year with Kenny Golladay in the third round. They reached up a bit early to take a player that they believed in. Golladay made some big plays last year, and I expect improvement, but you can't deny that he wasn't good for us last year.
I'm hoping that Tracy Walker will have a similar story and will actually see some playing time, unlike last years second round DB Teez Tabor who really didn't get to see the field until late in the season.
Da'Shawn Hand, DE, Alabama
Here's a pick that I really liked. Every team could use another pass rusher on their roster. I'm glad the Lions were able to get their hands on an Alabama pass rusher. It's a good fit considering he's reuniting with former Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis. During the 2018 National Championship game, Isiah Wynn, for the most part, shut Hand down.
Except during this play (and a few others):
Hand is going to need to develop, and will start out as a rotational player. Coming from Alabama, he was very versatile and played all along the defensive line. Given time, he can develop into a great pass rusher.
Tyrell Crosby, OL, Oregon
There's not a whole lot to say about this guy, another solid pick, this time in the 5th round. Crosby was expected to be a day 2 player (round 2-3) but slipped down to Detroit. He played left tackle for the Ducks, I expect him to kick to the other side and play right tackle. What he has is the desired NFL size; at 6' 5" 309 lbs he's a big boy and has the power to move guys around. Here's his draft prospect grade.
For now though, he's going to sit behind Rick Wagner and learn the game, as well as tips and tricks to solidifying his base and tendency to get his hands wide on defensive ends.
Nick Bawden, FB, San Diego State
How ironic, I have a really good feeling that the Lions wanted to draft bell cow Rashaad Penny, and I will bet that the "one NFC" team that attempted to trade for Penny when the Hawks got him was in-fact the Lions. You can read that story here.
So why not get the guy that created a bunch of holes for him in Nick Bawden.
In a league where the fullback position is fading more and more, it's really nice to see the Lions scoop him up. Last year on red zone plays and 3rd downs the Lions used LB Nick Bellore as a fullback, which I loved. The Lions must've wanted an actual full back after seeing what Bellore could do. Or it could've very well have been a pity pick because the Seahawks got him.
All jokes aside, he looked pretty good in the senior bowl. I've linked some highlights.
Based on some of that film, it looks as if he can do a bit of work out of the backfield as a check-down option, and what I also like is that he can block during play action.
To really sum it up, I think the Lions did a solid job during the draft. One pick left me scratching my head, but hey, they picked that player for a reason. I write just for fun, I'm no expert in the field.
Hopefully with the help of these guys we can get into the playoffs and make a run.