Big Board Tier Two: Day One Starters At Positions Of Need

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A Further Look Into The Draft From Ash Thompson’s Big Board.

The first tier was a list of players that not only start but also push a current starter into a spot they are more able to fit. The second tier is players that merely fill a position where the Lions need a better starter than they have.

In addition to the standard depth chart, I am including the third receiver and the nickel corner. Those positions play more snaps than the strong side linebackers. There are players on this list that I would consider drafting ahead of certain players in tier one. Some of these players are of the talent level that the team should submit the pick in three seconds, without even considering a trade back that involves fewer than two future first round picks.

The team obviously vary their approach to the draft, but Bob Quinn has said he factors roster impact in alongside player ability. The Lions have a few holes in their roster that need to be made deeper from the top, and the players on this list will do just that. Last season the Lions had every player outside a long snapper and quarterback from day three play significant snaps. These are the best players in the draft to fill holes on the Lions roster.

The Second Tier

These players fill immediate needs. They’re ready to take roles in the league in spots where the Lions could use a boost. I expect this list to include the Lions second round pick, if not their first. My leading indication of that is what Bob Quinn did last season with A’Shawn Robinson. He was a high-level individual talent, at one of the Lions weaker roster positions. The Patriots have also done this repeatedly with their second round pick. They do not often take high marks after the draft, but they also never have excessive trouble spots on their roster for long.

This is a good draft at positions where the Lions need help. There are a lot of players that would walk in the door and immediately improve the roster. Some are obvious team needs, and others are just transcendent talents. As with the first tier, these players will be ranked big board style.

The Big Board

  1. Jamaal Adams
  2. Joe Mixon
  3. Obi Melifonwu
  4. Haason Reddick
  5. Forrest Lamp
  6. Dan Feeney
  7. Alvin Kamara
  8. Marlon Humphrey
  9. Corey Davis
  10. Gareon Conley
  11. Cooper Kupp
  12. Christian McCaffery
  13. Chris Goodwin
  14. Quincy Wilson
  15. Noah Brown
  16. Zay Jones
  17. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  18. Kevin King
  19. Ahkelo Witherspoon
  20. Buddah Baker
  21. Amarah Darboh
  22. Josh Jones

A little Context For The Big Board

The Lions need starters at strong safety, outside linebacker, defensive end, and defensive tackle. They also need a third wide receiver. I believe they need a chain-moving possession receiver to replace Anquan Boldin, but less limited athletically. There are several corners with a high enough talent level that I believe they could beat out free agent acquisition D.J. Hayden for the nickel corner role. Guard is not a huge need for the team, but Lamp and Feeney are very talented. I believe both would be upgrades from Graham Glasgow immediately. Lamp would also serve as the team’s backup plan for an injury to Taylor Decker. His arms are not long enough for an NFL tackle, but in a pinch, he could serve the purpose.

This running back class has players in it that are better than Ameer Abdullah. Not every back fits what the Lions do, so Leonard Fournette doesn’t make the cut. Quinn has said that he is not going to force a player on his coaches. Fournette is the absolute poster child for a square peg in a round hole for the Lions.

That was the second tier, so far I’ve got 40 players ranked, and I think the Lions first two round picks should come from this list. The third tier is players that I think will take jobs from established Lions starters before their first season ends. In the case where a Lions starter is a good player, this means the player is very good, but in some cases they’re just beating out someone that shouldn’t have a job. Get ready for a lot of nickel corner backs and slot wide receivers.

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About the Author

Ash Thompson
Ash Thompson is a fanatical football fan, and less fanatical hockey fan despite his Canadian heritage. He is sorry aboot that. His spirit animal is a beaver with a shark's head. He enjoys maple syrup and tacos, but never at the same time.