I know I’m late to the party, but let me just say, “Wow,” never in my life have I seen a draft go more against the media’s consensus. The Bears traded away 3rd and 4th round picks this year and a 3rd round pick next year, as well as swapping first rounders with the 49ers to select Mitchell Trubisky. Pace is putting his job on the line with that move, being as Trubisky started just one season at North Carolina.
However, being a Lions fan, I’d like to take a look at their draft specifically. Detroit selected LB Jarrad Davis 21st overall. I liked the pick a lot, and wanted Takk McKinley, Davis, or Corey Davis at 21. We all saw what happened with Corey Davis, another surprise in the top 5, and McKinley ended up going to Atlanta. Jarrad Davis however, was the dream pick in that scenario though, even with Reuben Foster still on the board. Davis is a spectacular football player, with his only concern being injury troubles. Foster is a completely different story, he has had off field trouble, and some even calling him immature. Davis is a superb athlete and will likely be a mainstay in Detroit’s defense for years to come. He was an ideal pick for Detroit at a position in dire need of help.
Detroit selected Teez Tabor 53rd overall and Kenny Golladay 96th overall on Day 2 of the NFL draft. Tabor is a great film corner, but not a great athlete. He has a decent 10-yard split, and phenomenal size for a corner, but he leaves a lot to be desired in everything else tested at the Combine. However, on tape, Tabor is a great corner, with a very high ceiling. Chad Reuter of NFL.com said that Tabor is, “…first-round player with a third-round 40-yard dash…” going off that, it’s only fitting that Tabor go in the second round. Detroit again filled a position of need at corner with this selection. Kenny Golladay is coming out of Northern Illinois University, a small school, where he never really had a competent quarterback throwing him the football. With the uncertainty of Anquan Boldin’s future, Golladay was a nice pick, albeit maybe too soon, at No. 96. Golladay is a very good athlete, however, and another pick by GM Bob Quinn that has great size for their respective position. Golladay has some sure hands and didn’t drop the ball much in college. Combine that with good ball tracking skills, and you have a solid WR that just needs a little grooming to be NFL ready. I’m a big fan of both Day 2 picks by the Lions, as both addressed a need.
On Day 3 of the NFL Draft, the Lions took Jalen Reeves-Maybin 124th overall, Michael Roberts 127th overall, Jamal Agnew 165th overall, Jermiah Ledbetter 205th overall, Brad Kaaya 215th overall, and Pat O’Connor 250th overall. Reeves-Maybin was a very good LB pick for Detroit, again, a position that was in dire need of help. He is an undersized LB with poor agility, but otherwise a good athlete with great speed and explosiveness. The only concern with Reeves-Maybin is his injury history. If he can stay healthy, he should be, like Jarrad Davis, a mainstay in Detroit’s defense for some time to come. Michael Roberts is a blocking TE, as well as a bit of a red zone threat. Roberts is a terrible athlete in terms of drills, but he has great size, he’s strong, and has an oddly good 3-cone drill. Drafting Roberts allows Eric Ebron to be more of a receiving threat for Detroit, which is what he is better suited for, and he’s one of the best at it in the game currently. Jamal Agnew is a pick that should help the secondary in the future. He still needs to be groomed, but is a spectacular athlete despite being undersized for a corner. Agnew still needs to be groomed to NFL standards, but his speed should help accelerate the process a little. Jeremiah Ledbetter was the first pick to improve the defensive line. Surprisingly enough, it came in the sixth round. Ledbetter is an interesting look into how good of an athlete he is. He will likely play DT and DE for Detroit. At DT, he is a great, but slightly undersized, athlete, however, at DE he is a strong, decently sized, athlete. In a post-draft conference, Quinn said Ledbetter would play DT, assuming they get him a little heavier, he should be a force to be reckoned with for offenses. Brad Kaaya was a very interesting pick, but a steal at 215th overall. Kaaya doesn’t have a score in terms of athleticism, but he played in an NFL system at Miami, and played under current Lions TE coach Al Golden when he was the head coach at Miami. Kaaya, unlike many college QB’s played under center at times for Miami, and is a pocket passer, something Detroit’s offense is built around. Last, but most certainly not least, Pat O’Connor was Detroit’s final pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. He was one of only 2 picks spent of the D-Line, which, on paper, seems very odd. O’Connor is a good athlete with solid numbers everywhere, except average explosiveness and agility, and a poor bench. Bar any unforeseen circumstances, O’Connor will serve as a depth guy for Detroit, but a very good one, and a force to be reckoned with, like Ledbetter, when on the field.
Overall, it was a solid draft for Detroit in my opinion, filling needs in spots that needed it, and getting good value late in the draft. The only pick I see starting Week One, assuming no starters get injured, is Jarrad Davis. I do however, see Tabor and Reeves-Maybin starting at some point this season, whether its due to injury, or strong play. A surprise guy from this year’s draft class could very well be Kenny Golladay, who could easily take that slot receiver spot, or move to the outside and push Golden Tate to his more natural slot position.