A Breakdown Of Why Tyrell Crosby Will Be A Better Pro Than His Fifth Round Selection Suggests
Heading into day three of the 2018 NFL draft, I was incredibly surprised to see Oregon tackle Tyrell Crosby was still available. Just before the draft, I submitted my draft profile on Crosby where I valued him as a day two player and a must-grab for the Lions in the third round, if they had yet to address their offensive line need.
However, the Lions had addressed that need in the first round with their selection of Frank Ragnow at 20th overall. So the day two connection had to appeared to flatline. That was until he continued to slide all the way down to the Lions 5th round pick. Lions general manager Bob Quinn said they took Crosby largely because they felt the value was too good to pass up, a point I absolutely agree with.
What Traits Got Tyrell Crosby Drafted?
One of the main reasons I was as high as I was on Crosby was his immense strength and athletic ability. At 6’5″, 320 lbs, his size and length is something that Quinn has coveted during his time in Detroit. In his three off-seasons with the Lions, he has added Taylor Decker (6’7″), Graham Glasgow (6’6″), Frank Ragnow (6’5), T.J. Lang (6’4″), and Rick Wagner (6’6″). While his length fits right in, his strength makes him stand out on this roster.
Similarly to Ragnow, he was a guy that when I put on the film looked like his main goal was to put a defender on their back, on every play. His footwork in his pass sets was very quick and typically came with a wide base, which made him hard to get around. His size and play-style work well as a tackle, but also offers some versatility as his athletic ability could allow him to be a great guard as well. “Being multiple” is a phrase we have heard a lot from both Quinn and new head coach Matt Patricia this off-season.
Crosby’s potential versatility is another attribute that puts him above the rest in this round. At this point in the draft, the only “versatile” offensive linemen left had serious deficiencies in either functional strength or fundamentals. The former certainly will not be a problem for him, however, the latter was a reason he was a day two prospect to me and could be potentially why he fell a bit.
Why Crosby May Have Fallen
The major thing I knocked him on when checking out his film was his hand usage. While there are others that struggle with this in the draft, his biggest whiffs usually came as a result of that. He would sometimes rely too much on his strength and bank on his strong hands being able to win the battle. You want to see him bring his hands down and elbows in. At Oregon, he would occasionally get out-leveraged at the point of attack as a result of them being too wide and high up on opponents shoulder pads.
There was a little knee stiffness that showed up against speed rushers and stunts. While his athleticism is quite good, his change of direction can be lacking at times. In his 45-degree set, speed rushers would occasionally get upfield on him to set up a dip or spin move back inside and would blow by Crosby on their way to the quarterback.
Why Tyrell Crosby Was The Steal Of The 5th Round
The good news is, the hand usage is completely coachable. With Patricia’s experience with offensive lineman and new offensive line coach Jeff Davidson’s experience, Crosby is in good hands to be developed in. He was likely a slight project with the fundamental flaws he possesses. However, with the starting offensive line likely set there is no need to rush him into the lineup, which renders the fact that he is a developmental piece, nearly irrelevant to the pick.
His slight knee stiffness I do not see as a long-term problem as I think he projects better as a guard, which is not as necessary for life on the interior of the trenches. He offers year-one depth, with a potential to be a future replacement to T.J. Lang if he is to see a major fall-off in production, he retires, or they move on from him after his contract expires. Crosby’s strength and athletic ability put his ceiling way above his drafted value while being one of the strongest and most athletic linemen available on day three. If he can clean up the fundamental flaws he does have, he could be a Pro Bowl caliber guard in the future.