If you’re a regular Pride Of Detroit reader, and you pay attention to all of our writers—which I hope you do—then you’ve noticed the conspicuous absence of myself when it comes to draft stuff. I have not written anything about the draft. There’s a reason for that.
I am not a draft guy. If you follow me on Twitter, then you’ve seen that it says so in my Twitter profile. See?
We have some draft geniuses on our site, guys that could be big-time scouts in the world of football. I am worlds away from that. If you’re looking for scouting advice on a prospect, you’ll only get an eye test from me. You’ll never hear me talk about anyone’s motor or ceiling.
On the other hand, what I do understand is the game itself and how to put together and manage a team. Trust me. I’ve won countless Super Bowls on Madden.
So not being a draft guy has caused me to just stay away from the pre-draft process altogether. Today, on the day of the first round, I’ve decided to come out of the shadows with a theory.
I’ve recently had a revelation in my life: Since Bob Quinn’s arrival, I’ve been fighting the Patriot Way narrative. I felt it was a way to set the Detroit Lions up for failure, in the sense that imitation doesn’t set you up for guaranteed success.
That was until last week. Pats Pulpit’s Rich Hill changed my entire thought process on the whole topic. In essence, the Patriot Way is about pieces.
In the past, it’s clear the Lions have tried to put together the whole puzzle with one or two star players. Having star players is great, but if there is nothing to support them, it doesn’t make a difference how great they are.
What do we know about the Patriots? They have a system that allows them to bring in any player available and make them successful to a point. All this time, I thought it was the scheme, and in some ways it is.
But, as Hill explained to me, it's about everyone doing their job. “The Patriot Way is all about every single player, coach and scout doing their job at the expense of individual glory,” Hill said. Every player working together for the sake of the team. Every player has their own specific job.
In my opinion, you see this method in play on the defensive side of the ball more than anywhere. On offense, the Patriots are monsters with weapons everywhere.
On Wednesday, I saw this tweet from Matt Shepard, and everything clicked for me.
per @nfldraftscout, Lions feel like they are close to building offense similar to the Packers/Falcons-unstoppable so offensive plyrs in play— Matt Shepard (@ShepMatt) April 26, 2017
The Patriot Way, in the form that Hill explains it, is exactly what I believe Bob Quinn is implementing in Detroit. Here’s the route I believe the Lions will take in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Everyone says defense wins championships. but the fact of the matter is this: If you can’t score points, it doesn't matter. Outside of Seattle and Denver, the last 15 Super Bowls are littered with great offenses and mediocre defenses. Quinn wants this offense to be dangerous, and they are just a couple pieces away.
For that reason, I believe the Lions will use their first-round pick on either a receiver or a tight end. Look for the Lions to grab a running back on Day 2, and a backup quarterback on Day 3. It’s all about building the offense into a major threat to every defense you play. The Lions can do that this week.
I feel like we’ve been going about this all wrong for a while. The Lions don’t need to reinvent the wheel on defense. They don’t need to score big stars. What they need is depth. I believe that’s the way they go in the draft.
The way I see it, the Lions defense can be successful with players at each position that can play their specific role: The epitome of “do your job.” Much like the Spurs in the NBA, every guy has his responsibility.
Don’t utilize a player in scenarios you know they can’t succeed in. The Lions already have players like Darius Slay, Ezekiel Ansah and Glover Quin that can do anything you ask them too. Build around that.
In keeping with the depth scenario, look for the Lions to sign more undrafted free agents than they usually sign. It’s rare that a UDFA catches on and makes the roster and plays, but if the idea is keeping a player on a scenario basis, then some undrafted players may have a chance to make it.
In the end, “do your job” is likely to become the silent mantra of the Detroit Lions. Build up the offense and make the defense a cohesive unit of players working together. I’m not saying it will work, but I love this approach going forward. Let’s see if this really is the route they take.