What is Going On With the Lions Draft?
Let’s just say it, this is not what we’re used to from the Lions draft. Let’s also just settle right now the fact that it’s probably a good thing. Where is the skill position player with an injury history, or massive character red flags, but tantalizing combine numbers? Now granted, since the coaching change from Schwartz to Caldwell, those sorts of picks had diminished under Martin Mayhew, but can you imagine Mayhew having taken three linemen with his first three picks? I suppose you can imagine it; but you can imagine that the sky is yellow, and unless something terrible is happening where you are at that moment, it’s just not ever going to happen. Gone is the mantra of taking the best player available, which carried the lions from the deepest pit a franchise can find itself in, the win-less season of 2008, to a playoff appearance a mere three years later on the backs of some young and extremely talented draft picks, but proved unsustainable due to a lack of depth, and immense positional deficiencies within the roster. Things have changed in Allen Park, Michigan, and with any luck so too have the fortunes of the Detroit Lions under rookie General Manager Bob Quinn.
“I think it’s circumstances, at certain times during my reign here there might be a certain time to take a risk, but the first couple years, I think I’d rather be safe than sorry” said Quinn in his press conference after the conclusion of the first round. As with every single proclamation Bob Quinn has made thus far, he did exactly what he said he was going to do, picking players in the first two rounds that had obvious, and immediate roles with the team, and at least on paper, had zero character flaws to speak of. Taylor Decker and A’Shawn Robinson were team captains for teams that made multiple runs at national championship titles and third round pick Graham Glasgow has been an academic All Big Ten player from 2013-2015 while getting his Economics degree. A Google search of “Taylor Decker off the field” reveals interviews about how bad he felt when Jaylon Smith’s injury occurred, and the multiple internships he has done at zoos during his time as an animal sciences student. The same search for A’Shawn Robinson reveals articles about the burly lineman playing quarterback in a football game with children. So has the mantra of “best player available” been replaced with a rebrand to “safest player available?”
Glasgow has had some issues in his past, with a driving while visibly impaired conviction in 2014, marring the squeaky clean set of prospects, but his Grandmother moved to Michigan and he moved in with her. He quit drinking after his probation was extended due to a random test for alcohol consumption and got his nutritional situation fixed. He went from a doughy Junior, to the long and lean build that is usually associated with Tackles rather than interior offensive linemen after a conversation with Coach Jim Harbaugh about exactly how much he stood to lose if he didn’t change his life and a brief suspension from the team. “Part of me growing up was accepting what happened, and making sure I take responsibility” said Glasgow in an interview with The Detroit News prior to the 2015 season, “It sort of refocuses your life and you can prioritize what’s important.” So even the risky pick with character concerns, is an excellent student who lives with his grandmother and has taken responsibility for his own actions. He has no injury issues, and will immediately back up three positions on the line along with veteran free agent acquisition Geoff Schwartz. I think we can rest assured that Quinn and the Lions have done their homework, and that Graham’s “Gma,” (pronounced Gee-Maw) Carmella, will keep him on the right path.
With the Lions having brought in a seemingly endless array of defensive tackles, the only one of the three assured to start from day one, due to ability and not any assumptions by the team or player, is Decker. I believe that A’Shawn Robinson will likely take a starting role this season, but he has a lot of competition to bypass on his ascent. The Lions biggest needs going in to the draft were Defensive tackle, Offensive Tackle, and Center, and the Bob Quinn era opened with three picks that filled those needs with high basement players. “We want to aquire a lot of players that are team captains, that have good leadership because the NFL is a long season,” said Quinn “we need guys that love football, that are passionate about it.”
The Lions draft so far has been everything I hoped it would be, which is a bit surprising given my underwhelmed initial reaction to the Taylor Decker Pick. But much like Loyd Christmas, Bob Quinn has totally redeemed himself in my estimation with incredible picks in day two. @a5hcrack on twitter, and /r/detroitlions. see you in the tubes Al Gore invented.