The Detroit Lions Need Depth Everywhere. The Impact Players Are Gone. What’s Left?
Round four of the draft changes the nature of the Detroit Lions needs. Nobody at this point is likely to have much of an impact as a rookie. That means we are focusing on future needs, roleplayers, and special teams contributors only from this point on. The positions where the Lions need the kind of depth that could play a significant role a season from now are a little different than their needs for the 2018 season.
At wide receiver, two of the team’s top four players are free agents next year. At running back the team needs depth every bit as much as they need starters. Theo Riddick and Tion Green are the only running backs under contract in 2019. Back up quarterbacks, good ones that is, could start becoming options at this point. On defense, the Lions need a depth infusion at pretty much every position. Steve Longa makes the team uncontested right now, as do Charles Washington and Jeremiah Valoaga. All of that needs to change.
I think this is too early for a cornerback because there is no real spot for one on the roster. I would say the same about Safety unless the Lions are seriously looking at replacing Miles Killebrew. This is a bit of an odd spot for a tight end as well. The players being drafted at this point are too good to stash on the practice squad, but unlikely to beat out the three already on the roster. Quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line, running back, defensive line, linebacker and are the positions I will focus on for round four.
Mike White out of Western Kentucky and Luke Falk out of Washington State are legitimate quarterback prospects. There would not be a single utterance of incredulous bemusement on the broadcast if the Lions made either pick. Either could go in round three, but there are only so many teams looking for a quarterback to develop that high in the draft. Five will go in the first round, and Mason Rudolph will go in the second. At that point, the teams willing to spend high picks on the position may have spent themselves and the Lions could be the beneficiaries. white has the arm strength to run an offense designed around Matthew Stafford‘s cannon, and Falk does not. Of course, that makes Whyte less likely to still be on the board.
Tre’Quan Smith out of UCF is really the only wide receiver that the Lions have met with that will go within a round in either direction of this pick. I have my doubts that one of the nation’s best deep receivers will remain on the board this far. He has exceptional hands, blocks effectively, boxes out defenders in traffic, and ran under 4.5 at the combine. Come to think of it he’s definitely not going to be there in the fourth round. A whole bunch of guys that drop a lot of balls will be though.
Trey Quinn out of Southern Methodist is my “that’s a little higher than I thought, but I like the player enough I’m O.K. with it” guy here. The Lions have not met with him, so it’s probably not happening. He’s a 5’11” guy with glue covered hands that does a great job racking up yards after the catch. Sort of sounds like a certain Lions wide receiver going into free agency next year.
Brandon Parker is a 6’8″ offensive tackle out of North Carolina AT with 35″ arms. it has been pretty much disproven that arm length or height actually correlate to quality of pass blocking. NFL teams keep drafting gangly basketball players to play offensive tackle anyway. Parker looked good at the senior bowl, but this pass rusher class is trash, particularly the seniors. The Lions brought Parker in for a private workout. He was the MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2015 and 2016, and an FCS All-American in 2017.
John Kelly and Kalen Ballage are both players that would have gone in round two or three in most drafts. Kelly is a player that doesn’t really have any spectacular traits, but he’s an effective player. He’s powerful for his size but he’s not very big. He’s got good vision, and he’s an attentive blocker. He just looks like a guy that’s doing exactly what you want a running back to do at all times. His Marijuana arrest in 2017 is a bit of a red flag. Ballage is another of the big and agile running backs who use their agility to create, and size to break, arm tackles. He needs to learn to attack the hole, and not every running back ever learns how to do that if they haven’t before the draft.
I wrote about Ade Aruna on day two of draftmas. He is my round four edge rusher of choice among the Lions pre-draft meetings. Tyquan Lewis starts to look better at this point in the draft as well. I did a more detailed write up on him HERE. Lewis is a plus athlete for his size and has a team-first attitude that will serve him well in the NFL. Kentavius Street is a bit of an enigma. His ten yard split at the combine was elite for a 280 lb man. Unfortunately, he pulled up because of a hamstring injury and the rest of his workout is a mystery.
Tim Settle out of Virginia Tech is a player that had a horrendous workout, but flashed some really nice traits on tape. He looked out of shape and timed very poorly at the combine. As the players with an immediate ability to impact the 2018 season fall off the board, a promising project like Settle that needs some time looks great.
Leon Jacobs out of Wisconsin is an interesting player. He’s athletic as all heck, but he’s too small to play the edge role he did at 230 lbs. He was solid in coverage, and run defense in his senior season as well though. Jacobs may need to bulk up to find an every-down role, but he’s ready for some interesting sub packages out of the box.
Four Mock Drafts
Jeff Risdon of realgm.com has the Lions taking Nathan Shepherd, which he has admitted will not happen.
R.J. White of cbs.com has the Lions taking Derrius Guice.
Jared Dubin of cbs.com has the Lions taking Marcus Davenport.
The running total is now Davenport 3, Guice 2, Landry 1, and Will Hernandez 1.
Five Draft Rumors
First, not all of these are mind-blowing. I’m trying to help the people who have not been paying attention since January along too. Second, these are not facts or predictions, just rumors I have read at different places over the last month.
The Buffalo Bills are looking to move up from the number twelve pick to grab a quarterback. The problem is that every team in the top five of the draft needs a long-term answer at quarterback. They’re likely waiting for pick six and hoping their guy is the one that’s left.
There is a top five prospect with an injury issue. Numerous insiders on twitter have been coyly implying that there is a very highly regarded prospect that is going to take a tumble on draft day because of a medical issue that has not been revealed. If it comes out before the draft, I’ll clarify this later. This is bullcrap rumor season, after all.
The Patriots are eyeballing Josh Rosen as a long-term replacement for Tom Brady. Their ammunition to move up includes picks 23, 31, 43 and 63. That might not be enough to get to where he is expected to go.
Rumors say that many NFL teams are not as high on Rosen as the online analysts. There have also been rumblings that Rosen is the prospect with the injury issue. Of course, I have also read that it might be Harold Landry, Quenton Nelson, or Minkah Fitzpatrick. So…… yeah.
Saquon Barkley doesn’t want to go to the Browns. He wants to go to the Giants. But he really doesn’t want to go to the Browns because he believes it will ruin his career. I can’t blame him. He is probably right.
Three Honolulu Blue and Silver Drinks
Now, I have to tell you to drink responsibly. We all love the draft, and it is very easy to get carried away. Don’t drink and drive. It’s not worth saving the $20 bucks for cab fare to deal with the fallout of a DUI, particularly if there is an accident involved.
Creamy Blueberry Vodka Shots
- 8 oz vodka
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2-3/4 cups blueberries
- 3/4 cup sour cream
In a blender, combine the vodka, sugar, and berries, process until blended. Strain and discard the seeds. Then stir in the sour cream. Finally, refrigerate it for an hour or two. This makes four drinks. If you have stainless steel stir sticks to toss in and a little whipped cream to dollop on top, you can serve a basically Lions colored beverage. Or, if you’re the kind of masochist that prefers to re-live the Millen era, switch the vodka to gin, and use a stick of black licorice instead of the stir stick.
Honolulu Blue Martini
- Lime wedge
- Coarse or granulated sugar
- Ice cubes
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice cocktail (or any juice with some bitterness to it)
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 oz blue curacao
- 1/2 oz pineapple juice, lemon or lime will also work
- moisten the rim of a chilled martini glass with the lime wedge, sprinkle the sugar on to a small plate. Now dip the moistened rim into the sugar and spin the glass lightly back and forth. Then fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add the juices, vodka, and Curacao; cover and shake. Finally, strain the contents into a martini glass.
Wanna Get Wrecked? Have a Quad!
- 1 oz peach schnapps
- 1 oz blue curacao
- 2 oz vodka
- 6 oz sprite
- crushed ice
Put the ice in a fairly large glass. Then, add the schnapps, Curacao, and vodka. Finally, top off the glass with the sprite. Be warned, this will sneak up on you, each of these is like four standard highballs and tastes like candy. For that reason shouldn’t have even one of these if you need to get anywhere in a vehicle. There are 10 oz of liquid in each of these so if you’re making pitchers just divide your pitcher’s capacity in oz by ten and multiply the above numbers by the result. Keep the ice separate so you can slow down the horrifying hangover you’ll have the next day a little bit.