The Detroit Lions draft class is set and ready to contribute for the 2016-2017 season. Detroit added 10 new players to the roster, never making a trade up or down. Bob Quinn had three types of picks in this draft: great, safe, and questionable. The good thing about those categories, the number of questionable picks is very small. Detroit is going to have some competition in many places with the addition of the new players in the draft, which could lead to some veterans getting cut. Now, how did the Lions do in the draft grade-wise? Let’s find out together.
First Round Draft Pick
Draft pick #16: Taylor Decker – OT (Ohio State)
Taylor Decker wasn’t the ideal tackle to me, as I had hoped we would snag Jack Conklin, but Decker is still a good fit. This draft had many offensive tackles to be taken in the first round, Decker was the last solid one in my eyes. He has the ability to compete for either tackle spot and possibly start. Geoff Schwartz is looking like the starting right tackle, while Riley Reiff holds down the left side. Decker was the left tackle at Ohio State, but Detroit may look for him to start at the right side, and if Detroit decides to not bring back Reiff, he could move back to the left. Decker is mostly a run blocking tackle, but if he can improve his pass blocking ability, he could be a solid piece on the offensive line.
Second Round Draft Pick
Draft pick #46 : A’Shawn Robinson – DT (Alabama)
Detroit needed some depth on the defensive line. Haloti Ngata is on a two year deal and could possibly be gone after this season, while everyone else besides Gabe Wright and Caraun Reid are on one year deals. Robinson can now be added to that list and he has the chance to become a starting defensive tackle on the team. This was a steal for Detroit as Robinson was a projected first round pick, and the majority of the defensive tackles started falling into the second round.
Third Round Draft Pick
Draft pick #95: Graham Glasgow – C (Michigan)
Glasgow moved up on a lot of peoples boards after the college football season ended. He was projected as a 5th-7th round pick and would instantly be a backup. His performance in the Shrine practices and game got him a Senior Bowl invite and he impressed a lot of scouts. Soon, he moved up to a 3rd-5th round pick. Glasgow could knock Swanson out of his starting center spot. Swanson struggled last year and didn’t seem to be the future at the position. Glasgow did great at Michigan last year and seemed comfortable at the center spot. He can play guard as well if he doesn’t beat out Swanson, which helps the depth at both positions. This is a battle at camp I am excited to see.
Fourth Round Draft Pick
Draft pick #111: Miles Killebrew – S (Southern Utah)
Detroit released James Ihedigbo and didn’t re-sign Isa Abdul-Quddus, so the safety position going into free agency was bare. Detroit added the likes of Tavon Wilson and Rafael Bush, both aren’t bad players, but not enough starting experience or ability to look like a starting safety. Killebrew will have a chance to be a starter and compete with Wilson and Bush. Killebrew can also play at linebacker, so that gives him some flexibility, but don’t expect him to be moved to linebacker permanently. For a few plays or a package where Killebrew is at the linebacker position, it isn’t a bad idea.
Fifth Round Draft Picks
Draft pick #151: Joe Dahl – OT (Washington State)
Back to the trenches for Bob Quinn. Another offensive tackle pick was a little bit questionable for me at first. Detroit already had Decker, Reiff, Ola and Schwartz, so why draft another tackle? Then I remembered we have Cornelius Lucas and Dahl could easily knock him out of the roster. Depth at any of the offensive line positions isn’t a bad thing. Dahl can learn some things from the established guys on the line and be a good backup. Who knows, in two or three years, he could be our other tackle after Schwartz leaves.
Draft pick #169: Antwione Williams – LB (Georgia Southern)
Linebacker is a position that the Lions needed to address in this draft class. My guy Kyler Fackrell was taken by those damn cheese heads in Green Bay, and all of the other players I looked over have been taken, except for one. I was screaming for us to take Scooby Wright, the linebacker from Arizona, but Detroit passed on him for the entire draft, and for the linebacker spot took a guy from Georgia Southern. Williams won’t start, let’s get that out of the way. He can be a good backup and once again, provides depth to the team.
Sixth Round Draft Picks
Draft pick #191: Jake Rudock – QB (Michigan)
This was my favorite pick in the entire draft. Is it because I am a Michigan fan? Somewhat. That isn’t the main reason though. Detroit needs help at the backup quarterback position. Dan Orlovsky isn’t good, at all. He is known for running out of our own end zone for a safety, talk about trash. Kellen Moore couldn’t beat him out for the backup spot and was off the team. Rudock can beat Orlovsky though. Rudock isn’t here to replace Stafford, let’s be clear. Thing is though, the last time a Michigan quarterback was taken in the 190s area in the draft, he led his team to four Super Bowl rings…sippppppp. In all seriousness though, Rudock is the next Shaun Hill. He can be a very reliable backup who can come in and do a good enough job where the team doesn’t have to worry about who is at the position. He can learn from Stafford and Orlovsky (maybe to show him how to not get a safety), but over camp and preseason, Rudock will be gunning for that backup position. I don’t believe Detroit will have faith in him this year to be the backup, but in 2017 Orlovsky won’t get re-signed and Detroit will keep Rudock as the second QB.
Draft pick #202: Anthony Zettel – DT (Penn State)
Here is another pick I was really happy to see. Detroit once again needs some depth on the defensive line and Zettel brings it, along with versatility. He can play the tackle position or the end spot, something Lions fans wanted Detroit to address early in the draft. He could end up being a backup end or at the five spot at the tackle position in the end, but once 2017 rolls around, he could move up with all of the one year deal players possibly leaving. Also the dude can knock down a tree.
Draft pick #210: Jimmy Landes – LS (Baylor)
Here is where I questioned Quinn in what he was doing. Aaron Burbridge and Scooby Wright were still on the board, yet we took a long-snapper? Don Muhlbach has some competition to stay on the team it would appear. The question is though, couldn’t we have just signed him as an UDFA?
Seventh Round Draft Pick
Draft pick #236: Dwayne Washington – RB (Washington)
Once again, a questionable pick. Detroit already has five running backs, so why add a sixth? Sure Washington is big at 6 foot 2, and he can catch, but he has fumbling issues. George Winn is the only guy who should be scared of this pick, as Washington could just end up as a practice squad running back for the team. Linebacker, wide receiver or a cornerback would have been a better position to take here instead of running back.
Overall Draft Grade: B+
This years draft was a good one. Detroit addressed needs on both sides of the trenches, and helped out at other positions that needed some depth as well. Bob Quinn was called out for making “safe” picks, but safe picks aren’t a bad thing. Detroit shouldn’t have taken any risks and Quinn wasn’t willing to do so in his first year as a GM. I am excited to see what this year can bring to the Lions!