Grading the Lions’ Draft.
1st round – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa – Although the pick is “boring” I was quite happy with it. Reiff was projected in the top 15 of most drafts and getting him at 23 was a very good value. Expect him to play at right tackle next year and be an upgrade of Gosder Cherilus. He is a physical run blocker and was durable in his two years starting at Iowa. Grade: A-
2nd round – Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma – The most controversial pick of the Lions’ draft; without a doubt. Broyles was extremely productive, when healthy, at Oklahoma, but wide receiver isn’t a need, as far as any of us know. I was mad at first when the Lion’s made this pick, but the rest of their draft changed my mind about it (see explanation below). When Broyles is healthy he will be another talented piece to the Lions’ offensive puzzle and can help in the return game. Grade: C
3rd round – Dwight “Bill” Bently, CB, Louisiana Lafayette – Although I have been unable to read Mel Kiper and Todd Mcshay’s mock drafts for day 2 (I need to get ESPN Insider) I have been told they BOTH had the Lions draft Bently in the 2nd round. We got him in the 3rd. He is a 4.4 guy who has good ball skills. Although undersized, he has the potential to be a playmaker in the secondary. This pick alone made the Broyles pick OK in my book. If we took Bently in the 2nd round, like the “experts” thought, and Broyles in the 3rd round nobody would be upset about it. Grade: A-
4th round – Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma – Lewis has the potential to be the best value the Lions got in this draft. He is a fast and physical edge rusher who can provide a jump for the defense. He is a smaller guy, but I’m sure the Lions will have a few blitz packages drawn up specifically for him. If he adds some more pounds to his frame he could be a full time DE with his hand in the ground every game. I expect him to remain similar to the size he is now and be used mainly as a hybrid type player that is moved all over the place. Injury problems and a history of poor performance in the classroom caused him to fall to the 4th round. Grade: B
Late Rounds – 5 -Tahir Whitehead, OLB, Temple, 5 – Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion, 6 – Jonte Green, CB, New Mexico State, 7 – Travis Lewis, ILB, Oklahoma. Like most late round picks, none of these guys are close to a sure thing. Whitehead will be a strong special teams player this year and could possibly develop into a good linebacker in his career. Greenwood is an athletic freak at corner and dominated Division III this past season. Who knows how he will handle the adjustment to the NFL. Jonte Green will be another special teamer who can possibly develop into a 3rd coner, or a nickel corner. Travis Lewis left Oklahoma as the 3rd leading tackler in school history. A broken toe early in his senior season caused his draft stock to fall from mid rounds to his 7th round pick. He too could contribute on special teams early. With fifth, sixth and seventh round picks it is more about quantity as opposed to quality. The Lions got a good group in the late rounds and if they hit on one it will be a success. Grade : B-
Final grade: B. Overall it was a good draft. Not great. Not bad, but good. When reviewing the draft it is important to react to ALL of the picks as a whole, not individually. The Broyles pick looked a lot better after the third round pick of Bently and the six straight defensive picks to end the draft. While it may have been a reach at the time, it worked out. I expect the top four picks to contribute this year and perhaps one or two of the late round guys can make an impact as well.
Author: Wil Hunter