The NFL Draft has come and gone and now that I’m back from vacation, it’s time to crank out a few posts. Bob Quinn certainly did not disappoint in terms of entertainment when it came to the NFL Draft. He said that he wanted to get more draft picks and after moving up in the 2nd Round and spending a pick to do so, he traded a future pick to get back into the 4th round. I did not love trading up to draft Kerryon Johnson because I felt he was still going to be there at pick #51…they obviously felt otherwise and did not want to risk it. On paper it may seem tough to trade a future 3rd to get back into the 4th, but that’s the way the value sheet falls. I personally have no problem with it, I was happy when the Lions did it a few years ago to draft a defensive tackle…the problem was when they took Gabe Wright over Grady Jarrett. I like the Deshawn Hand pick and his versatility is going to be an asset. Not only that, the fact that they’re likely going to have 9 picks in the next Draft makes it more palatable. They’ll have a 1st, 2nd, 4th, 2 5th’s, 2 6th’s and 2 7th’s…plenty of ammunition to make something good happen.
1st Round, 20th Overall: Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas
No this was not even remotely close to a sexy pick. But that’s a very good thing. Ragnow can play guard or center and he’s going to help to solidify the offensive line. He did not allow a sack in his career at center and that’s a very, very good thing for Matthew Stafford. He’s not just a pass blocker though, there are plenty of highlights of him bowling people over in the run game and the Lions need as much help creating holes at the line of scrimmage as possible.
Sure, your kid is not going to want to run out and buy a Ragnow jersey immediately after this, and he’s not going to have the hype for the average fan to sell some extra tickets. But he’s going to help keep Stafford clean in the pocket and he shows that the Lions are completely committed to improving the run game. He’s the type of piece that can alter the entire direction of the offense simply by opening more holes and giving Stafford a little extra time in the pocket to complete passes.
Obviously another key selling point on Ragnow is that he was #1 on the New England Patriots board…though the Cincinnati Bengals would have taken him at 22.
2nd Round, 43rd Overall: Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
When I saw the Lions traded up, I thought it might be for Derrius Guice. That was obviously not the case and clearly the Lions were big fans of Kerryon Johnson. I liked Kerryon in college well-enough, but I’m not sure how high of a ceiling he truly has. He is extremely good in pass protection and he can catch the ball out of the backfield (and he’s only 20 which is a major plus for a RB…less tread on the tire). Theo Riddick will still have a big role catching passes out of the backfield (for this year at least) and LeGarrette Blount will still be the short yardage back. Kerryon was added to give them something resembling a complete running back and I think they’re going to run him a lot in year one. Kerryon does not have high-end speed, but he’s very quick and has shown good burst in the run game.
I would be extremely happy if he was a poor man’s Alvin Kamara. The Lions do not need him to drive the offense or rush for 1,500 yards. They just need him to be a threat to help open up the passing game for Stafford. It’s also important to note that the Lions could cut Riddick to save $4 Million next year if Kerryon has a big enough impact in the passing game.
Round 3, 82nd Overall: Tracy Walker, S, Louisiana-Lafayette
All I knew about Tracy Walker when the Lions drafted him is that he was at the East-West Shrine Game. Walker says he was surprised to go as early in the NFL Draft as he did, but there was a rumor that came out shortly after that the Carolina Panthers were going to take him 85th overall if the Lions did not take him.
From what I’ve read about Walker and what I’ve watched, he’s a highly athletic guy that is good in coverage and it seems like he’s going to be used as a matchup guy in the secondary and be forced into a fair amount of man coverage situations. He’s also a very intelligent player that looks like he can be an eventual replacement for Glover Quin as the “QB of the secondary.” 276 career tackles, 26 pass breakups and 8 interceptions is certainly nothing to turn your nose up at, even if he was a Ragin’ Cajun.
This is him in man coverage against Christian Kirk in the red zone on a crucial third down and he looks good. The best breakdown of Walker that I found was from Alex Reno…it’s a fantastic read and very informational. It has a lot more GIFs like this showing him in man coverage, zone coverage, etc and I would highly recommend it.
4th Round, 114th Overall: Da’Shawn Hand, DL, Alabama
I’ve got Da’Shawn Hand here listed as a DL because he’s going to end up playing the 3-tech spot next to A’Shawn Robinson and probably even the 5-tech too. They traded up and drafted him because of his versatility and I think he’s going to do a great job showcasing it as a rookie. After backing out of his silent commit to Michigan, Michigan/Lions fans will finally get a chance to cheer for him. I do not think he ever reached his potential at Alabama because he wasn’t really a scheme fit and they never took advantage of his skill set.
His highlight reel is fun, and even though he was not a mega-star at Alabama, I think he’s going to be a very good pro and I think his versatility is going to be a major asset going forward.
5th Round, 153rd Overall: Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon
Easily the best value pick the Lions made all weekend. Crosby dropped due to some injury concerns but in the 5th round, he is more than worth the risk. At one point he was thought of as an early 2nd round talent and somehow the Lions got lucky. Crosby can also play guard and between Crosby, Glasgow and Ragnow, two will start on your offensive line next year. If Crosby does not beat out Glasgow, his versatility immediately makes him your swing tackle and he’ll probably come in and block as a TE in goal line sets. Adding Crosby to the fray with Joe Dahl gives you two very versatile backup linemen and that is always a great thing to have.
Crosby isn’t an elite athlete and looks like he is carrying some bad weight, but he’s got long arms and a strong first punch. He’s going to be an asset and is definitely strongest in pass protection. As I said, he’ll be a candidate to start at LG to start the year.
7th Round, 237th Overall: Nick Bawden, FB, San Diego St
I did not love drafting a fullback, even in the 7th round but this shows you how committed the Lions are to running the football again. Bawden paved the way for Rashaad Penny at SDSU and he’s going to be an asset for the Lions next year. If you cannot gain short yardage first downs running the ball with Ragnow solidifying the offensive line and Bawden lead blocking for LeGarrette Blount, then I’m not sure what you do. The game against the Steelers when the kicked five field goals (one of which was on 4th and goal from the 1) cannot happen again and helping the run game is a pretty damn good place to start to make this offense work.
Undrafted Free Agent Signings
These are always tough to nail down before Camps officially start (they have now) but I would be surprised if more than 2 or 3 players made the team from this list.
|Al-Rasheed Benton||LB||West Virginia|
|Amari Coleman||CB||Central Michigan|
|Josh Fatu||DT||Southern California|
|Mike Ford||CB||Southeast Missouri|
|Kyle Lewis||WR||Cal Poly|
|Chad Meredith||LB||Southeast Missouri|
|Beau Nunn||OL||Appalachian State|
|Teo Redding||WR||Bowling Green|
|JoJo Wicker||DL||Arizona State|
I think that Al-Rasheed Benton and DeAndre Goolsby have the best chances to make the team and Chad Meredith will also get a solid look. That being said, a lot of these guys will not be with the team even for fall Training Camp because Bob Quinn absolutely loves to cycle through the bottom part of the roster.
[Photo via @LionsFGN]