This post kicks off my 3-part series of picks I would love in the 2018 draft for our Detroit Lions. Today’s post will highlight picks I would like on Day 1. Then, depending on who we actually take, I will submit a post for Day 2, and Day 3, and give you some names to look out for as the Matt Patricia era begins in Motown.
I’ll start this off by listing the biggest needs on this team (in my opinion). Really, when you look at this team, we’re not too far off from competing. In today’s NFL, if you have a QB, you have a chance. And Matt Stafford is truly a top 10 QB, top 5 when he’s on, and he gives us a shot by himself. That being said, there are a few big holes on this team that were ignored in free agency and will need to be addressed in the draft. I’ll start with a pass rusher, as it’s no secret that we haven’t been too effective at getting to the quarterback recently. Ziggy Ansah is a tremendous talent, but has had trouble staying on the field in his 5 seasons with the Lions. We gave him the franchise tag, meaning not only do we need to find someone opposite Ansah to give him some help, but we also need to think about his potential replacement if Bob Quinn doesn’t want to dish out top dollar to keep him in town. Second, it’s been talked about year after year, but we haven’t had a 100 yard rusher since Reggie Bush, and we haven’t had a top 16 rushing attack in the NFL since Barry Sanders. We desperately need to get some balance on offense. Both running back and left guard are huge holes that need to be addressed in the first few rounds. Graham Glasgow is a natural center and Travis Swanson hasn’t been terrible but he also hasn’t been any good. Some people think Ameer Abdullah still has the talent to play effectively in the league, but I’m not one of those people. He has had injury problems every year, has never eclipsed 51 yards per game, and last season ran for a measly 3.3 yards per carry. We need to get somebody who can run the football between the tackles, and keep Theo Riddick as a true 3rd down pass catching back. Haloti Ngata’s signing with the Eagles left a gaping hole in the middle of the defense, one that A’Shawn Robinson has proven he can’t handle alone. We need a run stopper in the middle of the defense to compliment what Robinson brings to the table. Obviously Ebron leaving town leaves a hole at tight end, but that hole isn’t as big as many think. We brought in Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo who are both above average role players who have had success in the NFL. Those two add to Michael Roberts, who the staff has been high on since they spent a 4th round draft pick on him in 2017, even though he wasn’t on the field much last season. Tight end is a hole that should be addressed early in Day 3 again this year. Linebacker was a position that the Lions addressed in free agency, but they brought in role players not starters. If the right talent is available early in the draft I wouldn’t ignore the position especially with Matt Patricia’s history with the position. Other than that, we could use a safety for the future with all-Pro Glover Quin getting older. We could also use another corner and potentially another receiver, depending on what the organization wants to do with Golden Tate.
So let’s get after it. Here’s a few guys who should be on the Lions radar at #20 in this years draft (in no particular order).
- Vita Vea; Defensive Tackle, Washington
- While it seems he will likely be gone by #20, I’ve seen enough mock drafts with him slipping to the late teens that it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Vea is an absolute monster in the middle of the defense at 6’4″, 350 lbs with a quick first step.
- Harold Landry; Edge Rusher, Boston College
- Another guy who will likely be gone, but I would LOVE to see in the Honolulu blue and silver. Landry was a sure fire top 10 pick before his injury riddled 2017 season after putting together a 16.5 sack season in 2016. He’s a quick twitch, bendy athlete on the outside, and exactly what we’re looking for.
- Derrius Guice; Running Back, LSU
- Beast. Guice has the mentality you look for at the position and is a perfect guy for your backfield on 1st and 2nd down to pair with Riddick. He runs like he’s insulted people try to tackle him, and gets angry at the thought of someone actually bringing him down.
- Will Hernandez; Offensive Guard, UTEP
- Hernandez is a mauler who would slip into the left guard spot and instantly improve our running game. He’s a better athlete than you’d think for a guy who checks in at 6’3 330 lbs, and has shown the ability to protect the passer almost as well as he moves people in the running game. Not to mention, he wears a neck roll.
- Rashaan Evans; Linebacker, Alabama
- Again, linebacker is no longer the biggest need on the team, but if Evans is available the talent is too great to ignore. Patricia will likely bring his multiple defense with him from New England, one that employs a lot of linebackers, and a lot of versatility. Evans is really fast, plays faster, and has great instincts for the position.
- Maurice Hurst; Defensive Tackle, Michigan
- I truly believe Hurst is the better football player than Vea (not bigger potential, not a better athlete, but a better football player). He’s a beast in the middle who seems like he’s in the backfield on every single play either stuffing the run or getting to the QB.
- Isaiah Wynn Offensive Guard Georgia
- Another guy who could fill that left guard spot beautifully, Wynn lined up at left tackle in college, but with his 6’2 frame fits better at the guard spot in the NFL. He’s a polished pass protector who gets a great push in the running game. He’d be a great fit next to Taylor Decker on the left side of the line.