Detroit Lions NFL Draft Recap/Grade – 2018
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Detroit Lions DRAFT PICKS (2018)
Key Positional Needs Entering Draft
- Running Back
- Interior Offensive Line
- Defensive Line
My initial thought was that this draft’s success would depend on how Kerryon Johnson pans out. The popular pick for the Detriot Lions was Derrius Guice and they passed on him twice; his off the field concerns during the draft process appeared to push him off the Lions’ board entirely. They also passed on Sony Michel and Rashaad Penny who were ranked much higher than Johnson by most scouts. Instead, they attempted to improve the running game via an interior offensive lineman. Frank Ragnow soared up draft boards at the end of the draft process and may have forced their hand as he went from the 3rd to arguably the top center in the class. The top Guards/Centers were soon to follow and would not be available where they picked on Day 2 as 7 interior offensive lineman went between picks 20-40. Ragnow went from outside the Top 50 to a Top 20 player on Mike Mayock’s final Top 100. He should be a day 1 starter for the Lions filling a huge need with Travis Swanson exiting this offseason. He has great hands and viewed as a polished pass protector with equal run blocking ability.
On day 2 of the draft the Detroit Lions traded up 8 spots and grabbed Kerryon Johnson. Johnson’s resume and production are fantastic, blind resume his 20 TDs would have everyone drooling. But, his slight frame and upright running style along with nagging injury history gave a lot of cause for concern. Giving up a lot and going with him over the draft’s second-best back (Guice) surprised a lot of people including myself. I don’t think they needed to trade up, they could have sat back at 51 and grabbed Guice or Kerryon. I also feel like they reached with their 2nd day 2 selection. Tracy Walker was seen as a day 3 guy by a lot of team’s according to Mike Mayock during his selection. His prototypical size and speed measurable shot into day 2. Same thing as the previous 2 picks, don’t hate the player, just feel like they left some good players on the board and might have reached for both day 2 picks. Walker will not see the field early as he will develop behind Glover Quin and currently is slotted 3rd on the depth chart at his safety position.
Day 3 was the opposite for me, great values. The Detroit Lions selected Tyrell Crosby and D’Shawn Hand who I thought were day 2 talents. The Lions got great value, added guys that will add depth, and could compete for starting positions as early as this year. Crosby was Mayock’s 65th best player in the draft, picked 153rd overall and Hand had a round 2-3 projection by Lance Zuerlien. Hand is a protypical 3-4 DE who has the athletic ability to set the edge when kicked outside in sub packages. They finished it up by grabbing Rashaad Penny….’s Fullback. Still wish they grabbed Penny, but they got a Fullback which again shows their emphasis on trying to establish the run. Overall, I liked day 1 and 3 a lot; I’m just not a fan of day 2. Not only did the Lions over-extend but they passed on a superior talent at the same position they ultimately addressed.
Ragnow was my favorite pick by far and don’t think he or a player of his caliber plus position would have been available day 2. I didn’t like passing on Michel and Penny, but I still see the value in this pick and think finding a center really helps everyone involved with the offense.. Similar to how Alex Mack made a huge impact on the Falcons offense from 2016 to 2017. Interior pass rushers are now a thing in the NFL, so the interior offensive lineman are having more and more value. I think he can be a Travis Fredrick kind of player who has great balance between run and pass blocking. I think he improves the interior of an already good offensive line that has 2 pro bowl lineman on the right side and 1st rounder Taylor Decker at left tackle. The Detroit Lions improved 2 positions with 1 pick and really solidified their offensive line, improving their entire offense; most importantly the running game.
Fantasy Football Implications
Kerryon Johnson is the name of note among the Detroit Lions 2018 draft selections as it pertains to Fantasy Football. He likely will go un-drafted in redraft leagues but a strong preseason could result in him becoming a late round flier. Johnson’s value is substantially higher in dynasty leagues as opportunity equals fantasy success. The backfield is muddled, but his high draft capital should push him up the depth charts to get some early opportunities. I think LeGarrette Blount benefited from them not getting a running back day 1 and he could be a nice pick up late in redrafts. Matthew Stafford was helped out a lot this off-season and should benefit from this off-season a whole including the draft. Kenny Golladay benefited from Lions not drafting another wide receiver leaving the door open for him to get more opportunities in 2018 if he can stay on the field.