This Was A Very Talented 2017 Draft. The DLP Writers Take A Look At The Most Dangerous Adds Around The NFC North.
Most Lions fans at this point in the offseason have either warmed up to the brand new class of rookies or are in full-blown hype mode. The consensus seems to be that most of us are happy with the haul that Bob Quinn landed in the 2017 draft. The Lions weren’t the only team to add talent in this year’s draft. Every team in the NFC North added players that could be potential future stars. Every team in the NFC North added players that could potentially terrorize the Lions for years to come. This is a look at the players that the DLP writing staff is least looking forward to facing over the coming years.
The number one team that Lions fans always worry about is the Green Bay Packers. While the Chicago Bears had a dud during the draft, the Vikings and Packers added some good weapons. The one that stood out to me the most was cornerback Kevin King taken by the Green Bay Packers. The Packers already have a good linebacker corps and a defensive line that can do damage when needed. The secondary on the other hand hasn’t been great since Super Bowl 45. They haven’t had a shutdown cornerback since Charles Woodson.
While King is only a rookie, and a majority of rookie cornerbacks struggle in their first season or two (just look at Darius Slay), King has the chance to become a cornerback that could haunt opponents in the NFC North for seasons to come. While King isn’t the fastest cornerback in the draft, his height gives him an advantage over other cornerbacks and when he goes up against a wide receiver, no matter the height, he can match up really well.
Smaller receivers will be able to use their quickness and mobility to get around him, but a pass is lobbed up for a 50/50 shot, King will have that battle won based on his height. If he goes up against taller wide receivers, he can keep up with them and while the 50/50 balls will truly be 50/50, he at least doesn’t give the wide receiver the advantage they would have if they were up against a smaller cornerback.
King could help the Packers’ secondary become a dangerous one as time goes on, and we Lions fans don’t like to see Green Bay succeed in anything – having King in Green Bay is a good step forward for them, and a new hurdle for us to take on.
While the Packers are the team that I am most worried about for this upcoming season and for the foreseeable future, I don’t want the Vikings to enter that conversation. I believe that Dalvin Cook is the type of player that can help take the Vikings to the next level. The Vikings’ offense was dangerous with Adrian Peterson. When they could run the ball effectively, they were a good team. That is something that I don’t want to see Minnesota get back to. Unfortunately, Dalvin Cook gives them the opportunity to do just that.
Dalvin Cook is electric. There is just no way around that. He has the ability to hit the home run every time he touches the ball. He can cut back across multiple gaps, find a running lane, and get into the open-field. Cook has excellent balance and can bounce off arm tackles, utilizing supreme body control to minimize the direct hits that he takes. This is a guy that was almost certainly a first round talent.
Due to off-the-field issues, Cook fell in the draft and landed in the Vikings’ laps. Watching the draft live, this was one of my nightmare scenarios. I saw it coming, but kept hoping that they would go in a different direction. In the end, I was left sitting there, dreading the upcoming years of the Vikings’ rushing attack. This was a guy that I did not want to see anywhere in the NFC North.
Cook may not be an elite producer right out of the gate. He is going to have to deal with a struggling offensive line. While the Vikings made moves in an attempt to improve this line in the offseason, I think that it would be a huge stretch to say that this is even an average offensive line. In the meantime, Cook is excellent in the passing game, catching balls out of the backfield, and I think that he will have the opportunity to exploit what has been poor coverage from the Lions’ linebackers in the past.
I think the Vikings got a steal with this pick. I’m not happy about it, and I’m really not looking forward to seeing him on Sundays.
If there is one rookie entering the NFC North this year that was tailor-made to beat the Detroit Lions, it’s probably Adam Shaheen. The 6’6″ 280 lb tight end is an athletic monster that, with time, could be a major threat for the Bears in both the blocking and receiving game. Sporting a 4.79s 40 time and some solid receiving skills, he’s truly a physical freak with a lot of natural talent.
More importantly, from Detroit’s perspective, he’s an absolute match-up nightmare. While the Lions have added to a linebacker group that was among the league’s worst at covering tight ends last year, should Shaheen develop his physical traits into a complete NFL player, few, if any, teams would have one clear cut answer for stopping him.
The Lions will need to continue to bring their young linebackers along quickly in order to provide an answer to this threat, as well as potentially giving Miles Killebrew some lock-down responsibility, should he continue to grow as a nickel linebacker. The one benefit to this situation for Detroit is at least they will have time to figure out the best way to stop Shaheen, with him coming from a small-conference school and the position that he is trying to transition into the league at, there should be a pretty substantial learning curve for him to work through in his first year or two.