Some players take time to get acclimated. Not every prospect jumps out of the box as a fully formed NFL talent. Others find themselves in a spot where the team that drafted them has all but gifted them a starting role on the team. In round three of last season, the Lions selected Graham Glasgow, who found himself starting for the team at the end of the year. Bob Quinn has not been shy about giving his rookies roster spots. He also has been ruthlessly putting veteran players on the street since taking over the Lions. The third tier of players are the ones I believe will take starting roles away from Lions veterans during the season.
This is the kind of impact you hope to get from your third round picks or high-end talents at positions where your team really is not bad, to begin with. Leonard Floyd is a perfect example in Chicago last year. He was a top ten pick but took some time to move into a starting role. The Bears already had some pretty good pass rushers on the roster. He had some holes in his game and needed to plug them before he was ready to assume a larger role. I doubt anyone in Chicago is disappointed with that pick at this point. Players at certain positions pretty much enter the league in the third tier as a default. Their transition from college to the NFL a difficult one. Rookie defensive linemen and tight ends typically do not quickly come to dominate the league.
The Third Tier: Players Who Take Jobs During the Year
- Derek Barnett: DE, Tennesee – Games – Highlights – Combine
- Malik McDowell: DL, Michigan State – Games – Highlights – Combine
- John Ross: WR, Washington – Games – Highlights – Combine
- Carl Lawson: DE, Auburn – Games – Highlights – Combine
- Caleb Brantley: DT. Florida – Games – Highlights – Combine
- Fabian Moreau: CB, UCLA – Games – Highlights – Combine
- Jabril Peppers: SS, Michigan – Games – Highlights – Combine
- Dalvin Tomlinson: DT, Alabama – Games – Highlights – Combine
- Rasul Douglas: CB, West Virginia – Games – Highlights – Combine
- Malachi Dupre: WR, LSU – Games – Highlights – Combine
- Alex Anzalone: LB, Florida – Games – Highlights – Combine
- Chad Hansen: WR, Cal – Games – Highlights – Combine
This is not indicative of where I think these players will go in the draft of course. Derek Barnett is certainly not going to be available in the second or third round. But for the Lions, he would likely be a situational player to begin his career. He will take some time to move into a full-time starting role. These tiers are about impact, not draft status, or career quality. For the Lions 2017 Roster, there are not many players left that will make a significant impact in their rookie season.