This Was a Very Good Draft for the Lions
To win in the NFL you run the ball and you stop the run, it’s an adage as old as football. The current mythology of the NFL says that it’s a quarterback league, that it’s a passing league, and those two things are easily defensible stances, but the good teams in the NFL do two things:
- Avoid third and long on offense
- Put their opponents in third and long as often as possible on defense
How do you do that? By running the ball and stopping the run on first and sometimes second down. What Bob Quinn did with this Draft was set the team up to be much better at winning football games by winning the down and distance battle, by creating more third and long situations for their opponents, and fewer for themselves.
Round One: Taylor Decker, Ohio State, Offensive Tackle
It’s not difficult to see how this player impacts the running game. He is a spectacular run blocker, watching any of his game tapes on draftbreakdown.com will show you that. Whether he ends up on the left or the right side when the season starts isn’t really important, he is a better run blocker than the Lions have had last season at either position.
Round Two: A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama, Defensive Tackle
Other than looking like a combination of Deandre Levy and Kimbo Slice, A’Shawn Robinson is an excellent defender in the running game, it is his unrefined pass rush that made him available when the Lions picked. This pick in the Lions draft has a huge ceiling.
Round Three: Graham Glasgow, Michigan, Center
Versatile, tough and powerful are words that can be (and were) used to describe the play style of this Michigan stand out. Graham Glasgow has the potential to supplant Travis Swanson, if the third round pick from a few years ago has not figured out a way to get his game in order.
Round Four: Miles Killebrew, Southern Utah, Safety
Aside from sounding like an old bond movie villain who uses poison to kill people, Miles Killebrew is likely the most punishing tackler at the safety position in this Lions draft class. There have been concerns voiced about his 40 time, but if you look at the league’s strong safeties, you will see that Killebrew’s time sits right in line with Kam Chancellor, George Iloka, T.J. Ward, and Kenny Vaccaro. He is just that kind of safety. It’s actually more than a tenth of a second faster than 2014 standout James Ihedigbo’s 4.77. He fits the scheme just fine.
Round Five: Joe Dahl, Washington State, Guard
All those words I wrote about Glasgow fit here too. Not extremely athletic, he is going to have to move from tackle to guard, but he did play a season at guard in 2013, and he is not being asked to do something he is unfamiliar with. He backs up three spots as well, but rather than center, his third spot is as a possible emergency situation right tackle. This is one of those picks that Bob Quinn was talking about when he said, “As we know, we can only dress 46 players, so every roster spot that we bring to the game is vitally important. So, if a guy can play more than one spot, it adds to his value.”
Round Five: Antwione Williams, Georgia Southern, Linebacker
Williams looks like a two down linebacker and special teams contributor even in his highlights. He is a great tackler, with solid quickness, but no top gear. His acceleration just tops out, and that’s his play speed. There is nothing wrong with that, he can be very useful in short yardage situations and on first down when the Lions are down and the other team is trying to run the clock. A solid pick in this Lions draft.
Round Six: Jake Rudock, Michigan, Quarterback
Rudock doesn’t help the running game, but the Lions needed a quarterback to develop as their third quarterback after Kellen Moore proved he was never going to develop an NFL caliber arm. Bob Quinn has repeated his mantra often on this type of pick, “I think it’s good football business to take a quarterback probably every other year, depending on who you have on your roster.” This pick fits right in with Mr. Quinn’s strategy.
Round Six: Anthony Zettel, Penn State, defensive lineman
I only knew two things about Anthony Zettel before today – his name and where he played. Today I learned a lot of things about him. The first was that he tackled a tree. The second was that he absolutely nailed the Thriller dance, and the third was that he excels at spinning jump kicks. In round six, I’ll take that guy all day. The nice thing about a pick this late in the Lions draft is that he will likely fill the role of recently departed Daryll Tapp; this guy can make the roster, even out of the sixth round. He will be a run stuffing defensive end for two downs, and then kick inside in pass rushing situations. Bob Quinn talked about the different ways that Zettel might be used when he said, “Yup, I think Zettel has versatility. I think he played defensive tackle for Penn State, which he’s a little bit undersized to play defensive tackle, so I think he’ll probably play both positions for us. We’re going to put him out there, probably start him at defensive end, but you know, we’re going to use multiple fronts this year like we always have. Wherever he fits, that’s one of his key characteristics is his versatility and one of the reasons why we took him.”
Round Six: Jimmy Landes, Baylor, Long Snapper
He is known as the guy who snapped a ball in to a garbage can at field level from the top of the Baylor stadium. If the Lions have to move on from Don Muhlbach at some point, we have most likely found his replacement. I am of the opinion that Don has signaled that he is ready to move on from the NFL and we’re moving to mitigate that change. The good news is that at least we’ve given this guy a sweet nickname, Snapalicous. We will never talk about him again unless he makes a mistake. This was probably a better move than it appeared to be in the Lions draft.
Round Seven: Dwayne Washington, Washington, Running back
10 fumbles. I am not seeing the advantage in collecting all these running backs with ball security issues even though his measurables are incredible. He lost his starting job this year, and ended the season by missing the final three games due to injury. He has struggled to stay healthy in college, and looks to be a long shot to make an NFL roster. Don’t expect much here.