In the Draft, boring is good. Boring is dependable. Boring means you DIDN'T take a WR in the first round in three straight years. Historically, the Lions haven't been boring in the draft, and that's not a good thing. Excitement in the draft comes when your team trades up to get somebody, or reaches past team needs to get a perceived top pick talent who's been sliding due to some red flags. The Lions have been guilty of being too exciting in the draft, and it's come back to bite them almost every time.
First, this was a really weird draft. The top 2 picks had been traded, which almost never happens, and a whole bunch of red flags started popping up on players who had been projected to go in the top 10 picks. Going into the draft, I was hoping a chain of events would cause Jack Conklin to slide from his expected draft position at #10 to get to the Lions at #16. Failing that, I was fully ready to take the best edge rusher available or Taylor Decker. Something that screwed this up, I think, was OT Laremy Tunsil, the projected #3 pick's twitter getting hacked and a video of him hitting a bong while wearing a gas mask getting posted. Tunsil went into draft free-fall, which pushed the other OTs in the draft, Stanley and Conklin, to get taken earlier than expected.
I was legitimately considering the prospect of the Lions taking Tunsil when Miami took him off the board with the 13th pick. To tell the truth, I was relieved. Taking Tunsil would've been classic Lions, and those types of risks have NEVER panned out for us. Nick Fairley had conditioning concerns, Titus Young had character concerns, Mike Williams had talent concerns, Jahvid Best had concussion concerns... The Lions drafted them anyway and found those concerns to be well-founded.
When the Lions' pick was in, I figured Goodell would say one of three names - Taylor Decker, Shaq Lawson, or Ryan Kelly. I had begun to be concerned about Lawson's numbers being inflated and his talent overrated. It also seemed a bit early to be taking a center, but I'd talked myself into Kelly as he might've improved all three positions on the interior O-line. Still, Decker was the pick I was most comfortable with, and that's who the Lions took.
I covered him earlier in the Draft Preview, so I'll just recap in broad strokes. Taylor Decker profiles as a day one starter at right tackle, with the potential to switch to the blind side. He's solid in pass protect but known more as a road grader in the running game. He fits a need, he does it well, and he could develop into even more. Plus, I like his temperament as a lineman. He's got a mean streak, and you've got to have that. Anyway, most draft graders gave Bob Quinn a B for his first pick, but I give him a B+, because doing the safe, smart thing is SO underrated. And in Detroit, it's been SO rare.
Tomorrow is Day 2 of the draft, covering rounds 2 and 3. The Lions have the 15th pick in round 2 (46th overall), and a compensatory 3rd round pick for losing Suh, 32nd in the round and 95th overall. When I previewed the draft back in March, my wish list of potential Lions was based on the ESPN grades of who might be available at those picks. Keanu Neal actually went 17th, right after the Lions' FIRST round pick. Karl Joseph went two picks BEFORE. And the last player I'd identified, Kenny Clark, was scooped up before the end of the first round as well. So all my round two options went earlier than I expected, but several quality players dropped.
The top guy currently available, talent-wise, is LB Myles Jack. He's a top ten talent, he's at a position of need for the Lions, but... I don't want them taking him in round 2. Maybe round 3, if he's there. But the knee injury scares me, and he's done if he needs micro-fracture surgery. Either of the Alabama DTs would be a good pick, but I expect them both to go before the Lions pick is up. Reggie Ragland would be great too, but he's probably gone as well. Kevin Dodd, a guy some people had the Lions reaching for in the 1st round, is available as well, but like the others, I think he'll be gone when the Lions' pick rolls around. So who does that leave?
If none of the guys who slid out of round one are available when the Lions are up, Kendall Fuller is a possibility. He missed all but the first 3 games last year when he had knee surgery, so he's a bit of a risk, but not as much as Myles Jack seems to be. Fuller could play corner or switch to safety in a pinch, both areas of need.
Another option in round 2 is Emmanuel Ogbah, and to be honest, this is the guy I hope the Lions get (if no one drops to them). Ogbah is a pure pass rushing DE. He's weak against the run, which isn't ideal, but you aren't going to find a perfect DE (a premium position) outside of the first round (if even then). Ogbah recorded double-digit sacks in each of his last 2 seasons, he knocks down passes and forces fumbles. He needs to work on his effort on an every down basis, and his instincts covering the run aren't all that good, but he looks everything like a disruptive force rushing the passer. I'll take that in round 2.
For round 3, the Lions don't pick until the end, 95th overall. This might be where you take Myles Jack or Jaylon Smith, both high-quality guys with injury concerns. Other options at this level are S Justin Simmons from Boston College, OLB Joe Schobert from Wisconsin, and CB Will Redmond from Miss. State. All three would struggle to start on day 1, but I would expect they would at least be part-timers, and work into a starting role after a year or two.
I like Schobert best of that group. He's a converted safety, so he's still adding bulk, but he rushes the passer well and covers well. He walked on at Wisconsin and was eventually made a captain. He finished his senior season with 76 tackles, 20 for a loss, 9.5 sacks, 1 pick, 2 passes defensed, 2 fumble recoveries and 4 forced fumbles. He's still a work in progress, which is kind of scary, considering how good his production has been. The knocks on him are his size and lack of elite athleticism, but his size will be less of a problem playing in a 4-3 system.
So there are my day 2 wishes - if none of the big names drop to the Lions, Ogbah in round 2 and Schobert in round 3. So far, I think Quinn is off to a nice start.