A Recap Of The Detroit Lions First Two Days Of The 2018 NFL Draft And Preview Of Day Three.
Day three of the 2018 NFL Draft begins today. The Detroit Lions have addressed needs at interior offensive line, running back, and defensive back with their first three selections. While there certainly are needs left for day three, let’s take a look at the Lions picks so far.
Recap Of Lions Day One And Two Selections
First Round (20th overall): Frank Ragnow, Interior Offensive Lineman
The Lions had a huge need at interior offensive line and filled it with the center from Arkansas, Frank Ragnow. This is the type of pick you need to make to turn around the offenses consistency issues. The Lions being top in the league in both sacks allowed and sacks evaded showcased just how much this unit struggled in this area last season. Granted, there will be a new offensive line coach in 2018, with Jeff Davidson taking over the role formerly held by Ron Prince. Injuries were also widespread on the offensive line last season.
Where the big step up will come is strength on the interior of the line, as well as top end athletic ability. The Lions have said they are open to having Ragnow compete for one of the offensive lineman starting positions, but he will have to battle for it in camp like everyone else. Though, it is highly likely either he or Lions guard Graham Glasgow will play for them under center in 2018. However, with Ragnow’s heightened intelligence and pre-snap recognition, it’s most likely he wins the center positional battle.
Second Round (43rd Overall): Kerryon Johnson, Running Back
The run on running backs early in the 2nd round forced the Lions to move up from 51st overall to take Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson. Lions general manager Bob Quinn said that Johnson was their guy in the second round and knew there were several teams interested in him ahead of Detroit. So, they had to pull the trigger on a trade that gave the New England Patriots their 4th round pick this season (117th), to move up the eight spots to draft him.
Johnson will bring a very physical style of play to Detroit. Immediately, he has the best vision and patience of any running back on the roster not named Legarette Blount. His patience was crucial for his success as he consistently set up his lineman to make the blocks needed to spring him to the next level. He has great jump cut and burst. His top end speed is not elite but enough to break off long runs when he gets the opportunity. Johnson will not have to come off the field on their down, as he rarely misses a blocking assignment. The Lions new rookie back will likely split time with the other backs this season, but do not be surprised if you see him taking the bulk of the carries sometime early in the 2018 season.
Third Round Pick (82nd Overall): Tracy Walker III
With the most shocking pick of days one and two, the Lions selected defensive back Tracy Walker from Lousianna-Lafayette in the third round. This pick was shocking largely because of apparent need at defensive tackle and defensive end. The new coaching staff had to have confidence on their front seven players on the roster to not address the need at this pick.
Walker will likely need at least a year to really get a feel for the game. His reaction time is slower than you would like. While he does not often make a wrong decision, he needs to speed up how quickly he processes the play around him. However, he is a twitchy athlete with quickness, range, and fluid hips that make his ceiling rather high. Willing tackler and wraps up well when making form tackles. Can lay the wood when he wants to but needs to keep tackle form on big hits too. His quick hips help him mirror well in zone, as well as bump n’ run in man coverage.
This pick will likely be one of the most heavily scrutinized of this year’s class, but could end up being a steal in the draft if Walker is able to put it all together.
Day Three Options For Detroit
Following the trade for Johnson, the Lions will have two draft picks on day three, barring anymore trades. With the needs at defensive tackle and edge left unaddressed, these two could be addressed with the Lions 5th and 7th round picks. However, there is a shot that the Lions could instead take a tight end or full back in either slot as well.
Foley Fatukasi and Kendrick Norton are names to watch in the fifth round if Detroit wants to address their interior pass rush needs. Fatukasi is the more athletic-developmental tackle, whereas Norton is an option if the Lions want a depth two-gap nose tackle. I am not entirely certain that they will drop until the 5th round, however if Detroit wanted to target the defensive end or EDGE need, Josh Sweat and Ogbannia Okoronkwo would be great options as well.