Making a Case for Our Draft Class

Here goes nothing.

1st Round (10): Eric Ebron, WR/TE, UNC

I've already expressed why I feel like this is a solid pick for the Lions. Forget the TE label on Ebron, just consider him another offensive weapon for Stafford. He plays more like a WR than he does a TE. He will play primarily out of the slot like he did at UNC, and will fit Lombardi's offense in a Jimmy Graham type role. He also has the ability to catch a short pass and take it the distance, and had the most yards after the catch average among the top TE's last year (8.84). Pettigrew's recent contract will not interfere with this selection, as they will both likely see the field at the same time. Ebron does bring some concerns though, as his 11.43% drop rate was lowest among the top TE's. That is just one year of production however, and you have to look closely at the drops, instead of just reading a number.

Mayhew's Role (Starter, Role Player, Developmental): Starter (likely to line up all over the field)

2nd Round (40): Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU

Oh boy. I've been begging for the Lions to draft this kid ever since I did my write-up on him a week ago. KVN is an absolute stud. He's not gifted athletically, nor was he the most productive college player. But he has incredible instincts for a college football player, and has one of the best defensive minds in the draft. I believe he's a very underrated pass rusher. He was able to get to opposing QBs on a variety of pass-rushing moves. He's always aware of where the ball is and where the QB is, and is exceptional in zone coverage. He is a 3-down player that will immediately take over as the starting strongside linebacker, replacing Ashlee Palmer.

Mayhew's Role: Starter (SAM Linebacker)

3rd Round (76): Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas

This is probably my least favorite pick of the draft. I understand it, but I would have probably gone in a different direction here. Preferably by addressing the secondary while there were still some lengthy CBs out there. Conversely, Raiola is not getting any younger, and we needed to draft one sooner or later. Swanson will most likely come in and take notes for a year. On tape, Swanson seemed to have held his own against very tough competition. He will need to add some weight and strengthen up if he wants to take over the center position in the next couple of years, but he definitely has the frame to do it.

Mayhew's Role: Developmental (Not ready to start, but in a perfect situation)

4th Round (133): Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State

WHO? Many of us fans were calling for a taller, lengthier corner for the Lions to pick up here, but instead they went with a 5'9 corner with pretty weak measurables. I will admit, I knew nothing about this kid before the Lions selected him. After watching a few of his games, I completely understand why Austin would want this guy. For a smaller corner, he was not afraid to go up against bigger WRs, and did a solid job against guys like Davante Adams and Marqise Lee last year. Against USC he had his ups and downs. He was called for two penalties on Lee, but he had what Mayhew likes to call a "short memory", and made a few nice plays later in the game. Against Adams, he had a stellar first half including this stirring play in the backfield. He ended up giving up a TD to Adams on a fade pass later on in the game. I expect Lawson to compete for the Lions slot CB position, and possibly beat out Bill Bentley for the starter role in camp. It is make-or-break for guys like Bentley, Green and Greenwood this year.

Mayhew's Role: Role Player (possible starter as a nickel corner)

4th Round (136): Larry Webster, DE, Bloomsburg

Webster's stock surged quickly after some impressive combine numbers. He ran a 4.58 40-yard dash, and his measurables were most comparable to Jadeveon Clowney's. I can see him getting coached up by Washburn and developing into a nice situational pass-rusher like Devin Taylor last year. He was one of the most explosive DEs according to this year's sackSEER article via FootballOutsiders. There aren't many players out there with higher upside than Larry Webster. DE was a big need for the Lions, and this was a solid pick. No complaints here.

Mayhew's Role: Developmental (will compete to be a situational pass-rusher)

5th Round (158): Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton

Caraun Reid is a monster. This could be the steal of the draft for the Lions. Most media outlets and draft websites had Reid pegged as a sure 3rd or 4th round pick. The Lions are lucky to have such a smart, talented prospect like Reid. It is no guarantee that the Lions will have Suh and/or Fairley on their roster next year, and aside from them they really don't have any other DT's that can rush the passer. Reid is a force in the trenches and has no problem pressuring QBs. Now the Lions have an OLB who can cure cancer, and a DT with a family full of geniuses.

Yes, please.

Mayhew's Role: Role Player (rotational DT that will see snaps on passing downs)

6th Round (189): T.J. Jones, WR, Notre Dame

The 2nd straight year the Lions take a product from ND in the 6th round. This time, they're getting a slot receiver that will likely compete with Broyles on the inside. He has pretty good speed (4.48) and short area quickness for a WR, and he also has large hands (10") relative to his size. He handled return duties for the Irish, and will likely need to contribute on ST for the Lions as well if he wants to secure a roster spot. This is a smart pick for the Lions, who desperately needed depth at the WR position.

Mayhew's Role: Role Player (will compete for slot WR role with Broyles and Ebron, could see the field on 3-4 WR sets)

7th Round (229): Nate Freese, K, Boston College

As our very own Sean Yuille pointed out a while ago, the Lions hosted one Punter for a pre-draft visit last year, and that man was Sam Martin. This year, they hosted one Kicker for a pre-draft visit in Nate Freese. It only made sense that this was going to be their pick in the 7th round. Freese will likely win the starting job this year. Otherwise, I doubt we would have drafted him. He made all 20 of his kicks last year. The Lions need stability at the Kicker position, and every Lions fan has already started the process of erasing David Akers from their memory.

Mayhew's Role: Starter (he is our guy, like Martin was last year)

By my count, that is 3 starters, 3 role players, and 2 developmental guys. Not bad Mayhew, way to stick to your guns.

Overall Grade: B+

I really like all of these players. I probably would have given us an A if we addressed the secondary earlier. I would have liked to have drafted a safety, but not everything goes your way. Nice job by team Xanderhew, but we will see how it really pans out this year.

My favorite thing about this draft is that after letting go leaders and locker room favorites like Louis Delmas and Nate Burleson, we brought in guys like Kyle Van Noy and T.J. Jones, who were also leaders/captains on their respective teams. To me, that shows that Mayhew feels like leadership is very important, and I'd love to see those guys take over in a few years.

What say you, POD?

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

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