Kurt’s Mailbag: Drafting A Guard And Other Lions Questions

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Welcome back to Kurt’s Mailbag where I’ll be answering Lions questions that come straight from the Twitterverse. Free agency is coming to a close and the draft is right around the corner. It seems like a fine time to take a look at where the Lions stand and what can be expected in the near future. It’s a season that never truly ends, after all. Let’s get down to it.

I had to bust out the old draft trade chart made famous by the Cowboys in the early ’90s for this one. You can follow along here (Trade Value Chart). The Lions current pick at 20 is worth 850 points. The pick the Panthers hold at 24 is worth 740. The Lions would need to make up 110 points worth of value to swap out. That translates to a late 3rd round pick or potentially a pair of picks in rounds 4 and 5. If I were to throw up a hypothetical example it would look something like this:

Lions Trade Away:

Round 1, Pick 20

Lions Receive:

Round 1, Pick 24 + Round 3, Pick 85

This scenario would leave the Lions ahead by about 50 on the points in the transaction, which isn’t uncommon when teams are trying to trade up in the 1st round.

Guards are on the minds of the Lions faithful. It’s clearly the big hole that needs filling up on the offensive line. Personally, I wouldn’t advocate for taking a guard in round 1. There are so many needs on this roster. While plugging that particular need does have to be addressed, it isn’t as dire as some of the defensive positions of desire. If the Lions do end up drafting a guard in the first it would likely be Billy Pryce OSU, Isaiah Wynn UGA, or Will Hernandez UTEP.

My preference is Wynn. I like his versatility as he can play any position along the front in a pinch. Another perk is that Wynn’s strength comes in the run game. It’s no secret the Lions are trying to improve in that area. With that being said, I would prefer they wait. I think one of these three may be sitting there in round 2 where the guard position is less of a reach. Guard is often overlooked in the draft. There’s a good chance we get a quality starter with patience.

https://twitter.com/DetroitLionsIre/status/980433634133004289

The short answer here is yes. Again, the running game is a major area of emphasis for general manager Bob Quinn and the staff. The Lions did sign LeGarrette Blount in free agency but don’t expect him to be the answer as an every-down back. The rumors of interest in LSU running back Derrius Guice have gained traction after reports that the Lions met with him for a film session earlier this week. I really believe the Lions need to address defense in round 1. However, if they were to take the shot on Guice instead I could live with that. If not, I’m confident there will be another RB taken before day 3  gets started.

The defense isn’t as far off as it may seem. The secondary is arguably the teams biggest strength as a unit. Linebackers were a focal point in free agency. The addition of Devon Kennard and Christian Jones improved the linebacking corps as a whole. Jarrad Davis and Jalen Reeves-Maybin should see some progression in their second seasons as well.

The key is the defensive line. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah needs to stay healthy for starters. Who the Lions draft to help up front is another major component. If they draft an edge rusher or defensive tackle in the first round the line starts to look pretty well rounded. Defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson seems to be on the verge of a breakout season and ends Kerry Hyder and Anthony Zettel would both be great depth pieces as rotational plugs. Asking them to be starters isn’t where the team wants to be though. I think the defense is 2-3 pieces away from being very good. The draft will dictate whether it gets there or not.

I’m not convinced Quinn and new head coach Matt Patricia are telling the full story here. Currently, the Lions have Luke Wilson, Michael Roberts, and Levine Toilolo under contract at tight end. The first thing I notice is the commitment to blocking. These guys are generally good blockers. What’s missing is a legit weapon to catch passes. The hope is that Wilson can fill that role. In his limited time in Seattle, he showed signs of being capable. He’s yet to do it consistently though.

As far as the draft goes, I think the possibility of selecting another tight end does exist. However, It would surprise me if it came anytime before round 5. And given the abundance of blockers on the roster, it’s likely the rookie would be a receiving threat. It’s entirely possible for this offense to run smoothly without a great receiving contribution from the tight end. I still lean towards the belief that the Lions will skip the position when all is said and done.

https://twitter.com/motownmania81/status/979002680369696768

I’m an Ameer Abdullah truther. I think the kid is talented and hope there’s more time in Detroit to find out for sure. He’s shown flashes but the end result has been disappointing. My theory is the Lions were doomed from the start at running back last year. I don’t believe anyone would have succeeded with the combination of poor blocking up front and mediocre play design/blocking schemes that were attempted. That’s not to say I think Abdullah is a superstar, but I think he still has the ability to be a solid runner.

In a perfect world, he could be the change of pace back and come in to break a long run once in awhile between catching passes. With Theo Riddick filling the receiving back role it’s hard to say what the future holds though. There’s a wide range of possibilities for Abdullah. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a fair share of playing time next season, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he was a last minute cut before the season starts.

Make Sure To Follow Kurt On Twitter To Ask Your Questions!

I’m really pumped about all the great discussions I’m seeing on my Twitter feed lately. I love having thoughtful conversations and debate with the many Lions fans I come across on a daily basis. Special thanks to everyone who submitted Lions questions for the mailbag. There’s no doubt in my mind the #OnePride fanbase is the best.

You can find me at @MrEasyStreet or on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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