The Detroit Lions Draft Picks in the Late Rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft May Have Paths to Early Playing Time.
After my disappointment with the Lions draft picks in rounds three and four, I was still pretty confident in some of the guys on the board moving into the fifth and seventh round. It didn’t feel like the Hand pick was enough to address the pass rush problem that plagued the Lions in 2017 but there were still a good number of guys that I think probably could have come in and contributed early on for the Lions.
That’s something that you don’t often see out of late round guys. Once you start getting into the sixth to seventh rounds, you’re lucky if those guys make the 53 man roster.
The fifth round is usually where some project players, players with health issues, personality issues etc. start coming off the board. This is where teams start really feeling comfortable taking risks on players. Guys in this area don’t usually tend to pan out, so teams aim for the guys with high ceilings or guys that have the best chance to make the roster.
With a good number of pass rushers and linebackers still on the board, I was pretty sure that the Lions would have no problem finding guys that they could make use of with their final two picks.
Round five kicked off and the Raiders took Maurice Hurst with the third pick of the round. I’d accepted the fact that he was not going to be a Detroit Lion and that something was definitely wrong with his medicals. The doctors had cleared him for play but if there wasn’t something that concerned NFL teams about his health, long or short term, he would have been a first round pick, so there was obviously information that we just didn’t have as fans.
So, at this point, I was just happy to see Maurice Hurst get drafted, even if it wasn’t to the Detroit Lions. If his health can hold up, he is going to be a stud and an absolute steal for the Raiders.
The draft kept rolling along and my top remaining linebacker Genard Avery gets selected by the Cleveland Browns, who continue to have a stellar draft across the board.
I had decided after the first pick that the Cleveland Browns are officially the AFC team that I am identifying with moving forward. The class that the Browns put together was making me proud to call myself a Browns fan since 2018.
Lions are on the clock in round five. There were still a lot of guys that I liked at that point. The Lions had addressed the offensive line and running back. They had added some depth to the defensive line. They hadn’t addressed the tight end position or pass rusher and I still thought the Lions could find use for another linebacker.
Tight End, Tyler Conklin was still available at tight end, probably the last player that I’d be excited to land out of this barren tight end class.
Obo Okoronkwo, Duke Ejiofor, Kylie Fitts, and Ade Aruna, were all pass rushers that I thought could find a role in Detroit’s defense with Matt Patricia. I would have been happy with any of them in the fifth round.
The Lions, as I had come to expect over the course of this draft, decided to go in a different direction. They selected Tyrell Crosby, an offensive tackle out of Oregon.
It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I was thrilled with the pick. Tyrell Crosby was pretty much a consensus top tackle prospect in this class and was among the top offensive linemen on my own personal board. The pick probably isn’t an immediate starter but he brings a lot to the table.
Crosby can probably play inside or outside on the offensive line. He provides really good depth to an offensive line that has been decimated by injuries in the past. He also provides an option to replace one of the Lions’ current offensive linemen when the team eventually decides to move on. This pick was the first pick that I felt was a great value for the team. I liked the picks in rounds one and two but I think that the Crosby selection is the pick that the Lions got at a bargain.
By the end of the fifth round, Tyler Conklin was a Minnesota Viking and Obo Okoronkwo was a Los Angeles Ram. I was absolutely fine with that. The Tyler Crosby pick was fantastic.
Th sixth round started and the Detroit Lions did not have a pick. Why? Greg. Robinson.
Most years, I don’t take much issue with trading away picks for players that can immediately impact a team. Robinson was just that sort of trade. It made sense at the time. It just didn’t work out. Unfortunately, there were still a lot of players that slipped through to the sixth round that probably could have helped the Detroit Lions this year.
I know that it’s easy to be upset with the trade in hindsight but man I’m bummed that the Lions traded that pick away.
John Kelly went to the Rams at the second pick. I’m honestly stunned that Kelly fell all the way to the sixth round. That is absolutely shocking to me. The disappointing part of this is that he went to a situation where he is just going to be stuck behind Todd Gurley. I’d have much rather seen Kelly go to a team where he could prove the doubters wrong and show that he belongs in the NFL. This was pretty much a nightmare landing spot for Kelly.
Duke Ejiofor came off with the next pick, another guy that I am surprised to see fall this far. I wasn’t particularly high on this edge rushing class but it seems the NFL was REALLY not high on it. The move by the Saints to trade up and take Marcus Davenport should have been the first sign of that.
Kylie Fitts went to the Bears and Ade Aruna went to the Vikings. This really seems to be a common thing in the last couple of drafts. The other NFC North teams consistently grab my favorite value guys in the mid to late rounds and take “my guys” in the early rounds. I really don’t like having to root for players on other NFC North teams but the North keeps drafting well.
The seventh round is usually pretty uneventful, and the 2018 seventh round was no exception. Teams generally spend picks on the guys that they don’t believe they will be able to sign as UDFAs, so that means that the most talented players are not always the players that come off the board in the seventh. Most of the guys that I still thought had potential in this area fell through the seventh round and into the UDFA pool.
I wasn’t expecting much out of the Lions’ seventh round pick but Nick Bawden was a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t actually spent any time scouting him but had watched a good deal of his film when watching Rashaad Penny. The interesting thing here was that this pick showed that the Lions are probably committed to utilizing a fullback in the 2018 season. That makes this a fantastic seventh round pick.
Like I said before, most seventh round picks struggle to make the roster. The Lions drafted a guy that will almost certainly make the roster and will see the field a decent amount if he does. Anytime you can find a guy in the seventh round that contribute, you nailed the pick. I think the Lions did exactly that.
I can safely say that I did not predict a single one of the Detroit Lions’ draft picks. I can safely say that even with the Lions on the clock, I was surprised by every single pick. It made for a hell of a draft experience. While I was ultimately disappointed in the picks in the middle rounds, I thought that the Lions started strong and found guys at the tale end of the draft that should be valuable roster assets, something that is always the sign of a good draft.
I think Bob Quinn did a phenomenal job addressing the running game and adding depth across the board, helping to set this team up both for now and for the future. I’m excited to look back at this class in three years and am already anxiously anticipating the 2019 NFL Draft.