A Look At 2018 Draft Prospect Kendrick Norton As A Potential Selection By The Detroit Lions
The Lions have some solid run defenders on the interior of their defensive line. However, outside of the recent free agent signing of Sylvester Williams, the Lions do not have a backup nose tackle on the roster. If the Lions reach day three of the 2018 NFL Draft without adding depth to this position, they could add a very powerful run defender by selecting Kendrick Norton.
Why Kendrick Norton Is Worth The Day Three Selection
During his time at Miami, Norton absolutely dominated against the run on the interior of their defensive line. At 6’3″, 315 lbs, he has the mass to anchor the middle of the line. He is strong enough that he commanded double teams. His first step and snap anticipation are both quite good for a man of his size.
The nose tackle’s first punch is often violent but can get wild at times. When his hand usage is good, it helps him flash pass rush potential with solid spin, swim, and rip moves. All of his pass rush moves do need refining. But, when his rip does stall out, Norton does a good job countering with a spin move to the inside to free himself of the offensive lineman. He is another defensive lineman in this class that has a really nice motor and is always looking to make a play through the whistle.
What Would Norton Need To Work On If Selected By Detroit?
If the Lions were to select Norton, they should spend his rookie season working on getting his pad level and hand usage consistent. These two attributes being poor for him are largely what is holding his game back. In the NFL many players flash potential but fail to put it all together consistently. Those players rarely see careers beyond their rookie contracts.
That said, rookie Lions head coach Matt Patricia is a coach who could turn around a player with size and strength like Norton. Pad level and hand usage consistency are both things that can be worked on and developed. While he would not necessarily be a “splash” pick, on day three I would be okay with that. Taking a player like Norton would give Williams breaks from eating up double teams and would likely play a similar role to Williams early on in his career. His ability to eat up blocks to free up the linebackers to make plays would be critical to a defense that will likely lean heavily on the play of their linebackers. Keeping offensive lineman off of them should be a big priority and drafting a player like Norton would ensure you have that ability for the next several seasons.