This is the fourth day of draftmas where we start to look at other people’s opinions because while I don’t care what anyone else has to say, you probably do.
Four Mock Drafts
Last year the carefully selected sources for the draftmas mock draft round up predicted that the Lions would take Taylor Decker in the first round. I will be using a slightly different group this year, but the majority remain. The five members of the CBS mock draft crew have given the Lions three different players. Rob Rang and Dane Brugler have given the Lions TJ Watt with Brugler giving both the Raiders and Chiefs Jarrad Davis. Pete Prisco has given them Charles Harris with Haason Reddick still on the board. Will Brinson and Jared Dubrin have the Lions selecting Taco Charleton, with Gareon Conley going shortly thereafter in both cases. Interestingly Ryan Wilson has the Lions taking Derrick Rivers with all of the players his fellow mockers have chosen still being on the board.
- Watt 2
- Charlton 2
- Rivers 1
- Harris 1
Three Snack Ideas
Salsa is one of the cornerstones of Draftmas cuisine. If you’ve got something to dip, this is one of the very best options for dipping it into. There are many different types of salsa on the market, and last season I went over a quick and easy Pico de Gallo recipe. This year I will hit what I consider the three other primary salsa types that can be made at home with ease.
Salsa Rosa is literally red salsa, the most common type and incredibly east to make. I don’t prep any of the ingredients because if you just do what you need when you need it, by the time you are ready to continue, the things that have to sit for some time are usually close enough to their time limit to say screw it and move to the next step. Prep between the steps. Here is what you need:
- 1 cup oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes (12 ounces), drained
- 1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
- 5 large hot red chiles
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 2-1/2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
- In a medium saucepan (which actually means a small pot) put the sun-dried tomatoes and vinegar with 1-1/2 cups of water and bring it to a boil, take it off the heat and let it sit for about an hour. Drain it, but keep about a 1/2 cup of the juice.
- While you’re waiting: preheat the broiler of your oven, brush the chilies with olive oil, and broil them with the rack about six inches from the element, turning them every two minutes until they’re charred on the outside all the way around. That usually takes about ten minutes in the oven. Put the chilies in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let them cool.
- In a medium deep skillet (which is a deeper than a normal pan, but you can just use any pan that will hold this) heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook on about four (assuming your stove goes from 1-10) for about two minutes. Add the onion and cook for five more, then add the plum tomatoes, and cook until the liquid is evaporated, and the tomatoes are breaking down, usually about five minutes.
- Scrape all of the stuff you have into a food processor, and blend it until it’s smooth.
Grilled Pineapple Draftmas Salsa
I am actually allergic to this, but I made it once and people tell me it’s good, so here we are.
- 1/2 ripe pineapple, trimmed and sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
- 1 small red onion, peeled and cut in quarters
- 2 whole jalapenos
- 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
- Grease the grill and heat it on medium. Obviously, every grill is a bit different, good luck.
- Drizzle the onions with olive oil and thread onto a skewer, if you are using wood skewers remember to soak them in water for half an hour first. Drizzle the bell pepper quarters and jalapeno with olive oil. Subnote on drizzling: you’re not trying to waterboard them, but they do need to be coated fully. Wipe them with a paper towel if you drown them, but don’t do a good job.
- If you’ve got a huge grill, or are a true baller with more than one this is easy, if not you’re going to have to do this in batches. Grill the pineapple and veggies at medium heat until they’re tender and lightly charred all over, usually about 12 minutes for the onions, 8 minutes for the pineapple, 6 minutes for the peppers and 3-5 minutes for the jalapeno. Turn each of them at their half way point.
- Once they cool enough not to burn you, dab off any oil that’s left, chop the bell peppers, pineapple, and onions. Cut the guts out of the jalapenos, and ditch the seeds, dice them. The seeds will add heat, keep some if you want a bit more kick.
- Toss everything you have left in a bowl. you can serve it as is, but it firms up a bit if you chill it.
Not the chain, the style. this is a smoky and moderately spicy salsa that’s good for dipping or as a taco filler. If you’re a Michigan alum I assume you’ll be having tacos at your draft party, and this is the right salsa.
- 2 pounds Roma tomatoes, halved
- 1 medium white onion, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
- 4 cloves (peel on) garlic
- 1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, plus
- 1-1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1 medium lime, juiced
- Preheat your oven to broil with the rack at the top. Place the tomato halves skin side up, the onion slices, and the garlic onto a cookie sheet. Broil that for 6-8 minutes until the skin on the tomatoes blackens.
- Allow that to cool, until the garlic cloves are safe to touch the remove their skin and put them in a food processor with everything else. Pulse it until it’s the consistency you want.
As a side note, if you don’t have a food processor, you can use a hand mixer. Just put everything into a bowl. Draftmas doesn’t require buying expensive new appliances, you can get one for $20 bucks.
Two First Round Busts
Corey Davis has a concentration drop problem. I have had problems finding examples of receivers for whom that problem went away after entering the NFL. For some, the drops are part of a great enough package that they are of little concern. Amari Cooper, Demaryius Thomas, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham and the Lions legendary Calvin Johnson were all players with a concentration drop problems in college. But for every superstar, there are five or six draft busts who never got over the problem.
John Ross is a glass cannon. Devastating and dangerous, Ross is also brittle. There have been reports in recent days that teams have removed him from their draft boards entirely. Do not believe anything you read in the week before the draft from unnamed team executives. Someone will bite on Ross’s record combine performance. Even before the combine, he was considered at worst the third best receiver in the 2017 draft class.
And One Inconvenient Truth
Safety is a desperate need for the Detroit Lions. This is an easy one to make a case for but it is not a commonly addressed position in mock drafts. Both of the Lions starting safeties from last season are in contract years. Glover Quin has been a very good player for the Lions but is entering his age 31 season. He is also coming off his worst season as a Detroit Lion and a free agent in 2018. Tavon Wilson is a below average starter and also a free agent in 2018. Don Carey is 30 years old, and a free agent in 2018. Miles Killebrew is the only safety that the Lions currently have under contract for the 2018 season.
Killebrew showed promise last season in a limited role, but assuming he is going to be ready for action as a starter in 2018 may be overly optimistic. Quin may rebound and regain his old ways as a turnover generator, but there is also the possibility that age has caught up with him. Wilson is not great in coverage, making him a poor choice to potentially replace Quin. In any case, not planning for the future would be a huge mistake for the Lions, and any player taken after the third round is highly unlikely to be ready to start and excel in 2018.