The Detroit Lions decided to tear everything down last season. They went from being a playoff threat to last place in the NFC Central Division. The Lions needed to draft some players that would help to turn around the fortunes of the team. Let’s check out if they were able to do that in this NFL Draft.
Round 1, Pick 8: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa. 6’5″, 251 lbs. Hockenson was the most complete tight end in the draft. With more offenses putting more of an emphasis on making the position an integral part of moving the chains, Hockenson should be ready to start right away as a blocker and a receiver at tight end.
Round 2, Pick 11: Jahlani Tavai, LB, Hawaii. 6’2″, 250 lbs. Tavai is the type of hybrid linebacker that Lions head coach is always looking for. Tavai is able to get upfield to disrupt plays.
Round 3, Pick 18: Will Harris, S, Boston College. 6’1″, 207 lbs. Harris moved up to Round 3 because he has the capability to play at either strong safety or free safety. This type of versatility is necessary to defend against teams with innovative offensive schemes.
Round 4, Pick 15: Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson. 6’4″, 271 lbs. Bryant did not receive as much press as his fellow defensive linemen from Clemson, but he will be a solid strong-side defensive end for many years to come. This pick was a steal.
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Round 5, Pick 8: Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State. 6’2″, 205 lbs. Oruwariye is a tall corner, so he will be used to prevent taller possession receivers from catching passes in the red zone.
Round 6, Pick 11: Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion. 6’2″, 215 lbs. Fulgham’s height will be used as a possession receiver and as a red zone receiver as too many possessions turned into field goals instead of touchdowns in the red zone.
Round 6, Pick 13: Ty Johnson, RB, Maryland. 5’10”, 208 lbs. Johnson will compete for a spot as a 3rd-down back. He also has the ability to return kicks as well. He would have went higher, but he was dealing with injuries last season.
Round 7, Pick 10: Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia. 6’3″, 244 lbs. Coach Patricia loves to use two TE sets, so Nauta could be seeing plenty of playing time. His potential as a receiver could give him plenty of opportunities in the red zone.
Round 7, Pick 15: P.J. Johnson, DT, Arizona. 6’4″, 334 lbs. Johnson is a run stuffer that will add depth to the defensive line.
Grade: Detroit definitely addressed their depth issue with nine picks. All nine players have a decent chance of making an impact next season. I give the Lions a B-.
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