The reasons why Bob Quinn should take a controversial approach to this year’s draft
All offseason, we have heard about the weaknesses of the Detroit Lions defense. The lack of depth and star power in both the defensive line and linebacking corps have plagued the team for the last two seasons, and unless the Lions general manager Bob Quinn can find a couple of star players in this years draft, 2018 will likely be no different.
However, with the Lions picking 20th overall in the upcoming draft, one has to consider, how good a defensive player could they really get at that position? By the time the Lions are on the clock, almost all of the top defensive talent will surely be gone. This leads us to my proposal: rather than try to fix the defensive front seven this year, the Lions should focus on rounding out their offense in the 2018 draft.
The Lion Offense Could Become Unstoppable
The Lions offense was very good in 2017 and is much closer to being a complete unit than the defense. At this point, the Lions only have two big needs on offense: left guard and running back. They have an elite wide receiver corps, a tight end who is capable in Luke Wilson, four other solid players on the offensive line, and even a running back who is good when called upon in LeGarrette Blount.
By drafting an interior offensive lineman, running back and tight end early, the Lions would truly have no weakness on offense. Even outside of their starters, they would have solid depth along the Lions offensive line, in the tight end group with the newly drafted rookie, in the backfield with the aforementioned Blount and at wide receiver with Kenny Golladay and TJ Jones.
If the Lions focus on offense in the first three rounds of the 2018 draft, the Detroit offense could be as good as it was in 2011, when Matthew Stafford threw for over 5000 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Offense Early Will Likely Be The Best Value
Early in the draft, the defensive players that fit the Lions needs aren’t really that great. Players like Da’Ron Payne, Taven Bryan, Harold Landry, Marcus Davenport (and so on) that could be available when the Lions pick all having glaring flaws in their games that may never be corrected. They all have positive things as well, and might even be likely to develop into good players, but it’s hard to see any of these guys becoming great NFL players.
On the opposite side of the field, this is a stacked offensive class at the Lions positions of need. There are about 10 interior offensive linemen who will go in the first three rounds that look to be good NFL players, and the same could be said for the running back position. There are also several appealing tight end prospects in that range. From a value standpoint, offense early makes sense for the Lions.
This Is A Deep Defensive Draft Class
While this defensive draft class lacks star power within the first few rounds, there are solid players projected to go all throughout the draft. There are many defensive tackles, defensive ends, and linebackers who are currently being mocked on day three of the draft that have very high upsides, or could even potentially contribute on day one.
Some of these players include Shaquem Griffin, Josh Sweat, Dorrance Armstrong, Arden Key, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Hercules Mata’afa PJ Hall, Da’Shawn Hand, Trenton Thompson, RJ McIntosh and many others. While the defensive value isn’t great early on in this draft class, there will be a ton of value in the mid and later rounds.
Offense-Heavy Mock Draft
Round 1 Pick 20: Isaiah Wynn, Offensive Guard from Georgia
Wynn would give the Lions offensive line potential to be one of the best in the league. He can do everything that you would want from a guard at a high level and would fill in the only hole on the Lions offensive line.
Round 2 Pick 51: Mike Gesicki, Tight End from Penn State
Mike Gesicki is a massive, athletic tight. At 6’5″ and 247 pounds, he ran 4.54 40 at the combine and had a 41.5-inch vertical leap. Gesicki is purely a receiving tight end, but he is a fantastic one who could do a lot of what Ebron did just as a rookie. He also offers insurance in the passing game for when Golden Tate and Luke Willson‘s contracts expire next year.
Round 3 Pick 82: Kerryon Johnson, Running Back from Auburn
In the third round, Johnson is a steal, however, that is where he is currently being projected to go. He has good speed, strength, and agility, is good both catching the ball and in pass protection, and has Le’Veon Bell like vision. He could be a starter from day one.
Round 4 Pick 117: RJ McIntosh, Defensive Tackle from Miami
RJ McIntosh is an athletic freak of a defensive tackle who could really play any position on the defensive line. With the help of new coach head coach Matt Patricia, McIntosh could develop his technique and turn into a great, versatile pass rusher.
Round 5 Pick 153: Shaquem Griffin, Outside Linebacker from UCF
Griffen is a fantastic player who fell this far in the draft to only having one hand. Griffin has the ability to play almost anywhere from the edge, to outside linebacker, to strong safety in the NFL. He is a steal this late in the draft.
Round 7 Pick 237: Ryan Nall, Fullback from Oregon State
Ryan Nall continues the theme of versatility. He can play running back, fullback and possibly even tight end. Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter could get very creative with Nall.