The Detroit Lions need to get over the hump. And may use another team’s model of drafting players to get there.
While the NFC North team is one on the rise, the fact this organization cannot get past the Green Bay Packers and become the dominant team in the division must weigh heavy on both management and the players.
Detroit has eight draft picks this year. As a result, they could lean heavily toward defense. More importantly, they need to fill needs and depth in all three areas of defense. That is, defensive line, linebacker, and secondary. And adding more picks is not out of the question.
According to prideofdetroit.com, during that 2000 NFL Draft, a young Bob Quinn was fresh out of the University of Connecticut and a lowly player personnel assistant; the bottom of the scouting food chain. Through the course of his tenure with the Patriots, Quinn rose up through the ranks and eventually became the Director of Pro Scouting in 2012. After spending over 15 years as a scout in some capacity, Quinn became the Detroit Lions GM just over a year ago, and the return on that investment for the Lions has been fruitful in terms of talent acquisition, both through free agency and, more importantly, the draft.
Will his experience with the Patriots lead him to trade back in the first round? Hence, adding more picks for an organization that has holes to fill. Consequently, will those moves, much like the ones that Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick makes, help the Lions get past their divisional nemesis?
And more importantly, how will this team improve its defense?
Detroit lacked playmaking on defense last season, generating only 14 turnovers and finishing with the fourth fewest turnovers among all teams in 2016. Of the five teams that finished with a double-digit turnover differential in 2016, four of those teams made the playoffs, two of them went to the Super Bowl and the New England Patriots—with a +12 differential—finished the season as champions.
The Detroit Lions have eight picks this year and it’s a good bet the majority will be focused on the defensive size of the ball. There are holes on offense where quarterback Matthew Stafford could use another wide receiver to play with and depth on the offensive line. But looking at the roster right now, Detroit needs at least one addition to at every unit on the other side of the ball.
Here’s a quick look at how I see the Detroit Lions first three rounds breaking down in April.
First round: No. 21 overall – Haasan Reddick, Linebacker, Temple
Reddick would be an instant starter inside. He has good size at 6-foot-1 and 237 pounds. He is quick, running the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds.
For a team void of playmakers in defense, this makes sense. The Lions currently have just three linebackers – Tahir Whitehead, Paul Worrilow and Antwione Williams – with any real NFL game experience. They need to continue to add to the position this offseason.
If he is there, the Detroit Lions could make this move.
Second round: No. 53 overall – TreDavious White, Cornerback, LSU
He isn’t the ideal height at 5-foot-11 and 192-pounds, but White would make the secondary better in a hurry.
He was a first-team Walter Camp All-American. Likewise, White was an All-SEC selection last year (34 tackles, two INT, team-high 14 passes broken up). In a division that sees the Packers use multiple wide receiver sets and a Vikings team that will throw more this season, the pick may be the key to a better defense.
Third round: No. 85 overall – Jarron Jones, Defensive Tackle, Notre Dame
Jones recorded 45 tackles in 2016. This included 11 for a loss, two sacks, three passes batted and one forced fumble. Regardless, Jones was more active for Notre Dame than the numbers illustrate. Further, he is a disruptive defender who makes plays in the backfield in the ground game. By the same token, he puts heat on the quarterback
Jarron Jones takes up space and could be a plug and play type of guy on the Detroit Lions defense.