The 2017 NFL season is over and the offseason is officially upon us. Sadly, that means we have to wait another seven months before a meaningful football game is played again.
But as the prophets known as Semisonic once said, “Every new beginning is from some other beginning’s end.” And with the end of the 2017 season brings the beginning of draft season. And what better way to kick off draft season than with a full seven-round mock draft from Bleacher Report’s draft expert Matt Miller?
Miller posted a full 32-team, seven-round mock on Monday, and his picks for the Lions will probably be polarizing to some. Take a look at the Lions’ haul:
- Round 1: DT Vita Vea, Washington
- Round 2: TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
- Round 3: RB Kerryon Johnson, Auburn
- Round 4: WR Auden Tate, Florida State
- Round 5: LB Andre Smith, North Carolina
- Round 7: LB Nick DeLuca, North Dakota State
The Detroit Lions get fan favorite Vita Vea (who we profiled last week) in the first, adding some much-needed help to the defensive line. But it’s the next three picks that will have some Lions fans scratching their heads.
Miller goes with three straight offensive skill-player picks from Rounds 2-4. While a few of those cover big needs, it seems a bit reckless to go offensively strong here, considering Detroit’s weak defensive roster. Let’s break down each of those picks.
TE Mark Andrews
Eric Ebron’s future with the Detroit Lions is certainly up in the air. Though he’s signed through the 2018 season, his $8.25 million cap hit doesn’t match his moderate production and he could potentially be a cap casualty. That’s likely why Miller slotted Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews to Detroit in the second round. Andrews was one of the most productive tight ends Oklahoma history, pulling in 1,765 yards in three seasons and a whopping 22 touchdowns.
Considering the Lions drafted Michael Roberts in the fourth round last year, this is a tough pick to justify this early in the draft, but Detroit may have a long-term need at the position still.
RB Kerryon Johnson
Running back is a very common pick for the Lions in the first three rounds, and for good reason. Ameer Abdullah has yet to live up to the hype and is basically on his last shot to improve in 2018. Even if Abdullah does improve, the Lions could use at least one more talented player in the backfield. Here’s what our own Kent Lee Platte wrote about Johnson back in December:
One of the most versatile backs in this draft class, Johnson is known for his ability to break tackles and fight through contact. I was a bit surprised when I looked at his size and saw him listed at only 212 pounds, as he runs like someone much larger. With the shift in the NFL trending where the more versatility the better, I think a player like Kerryon Johnson will be valued a lot higher than he might have been in previous seasons.
Johnson’s body type isn’t one of a prototypical power back, but his running style suggests he’s not afraid to assume that sort of role. He’s not exactly the thunder to Abdullah’s lightning, but his versatility gives him value to just about any team.
WR Auden Tate
This is easily the most confusing pick of the litter. The Lions have very little need for a wide receiver, even though Golden Tate’s contract is up after 2018. Even if the Lions were to let him go, Auden Tate (no relation) doesn’t resemble the kind of receiver Golden Tate is. He is a big receiver with some athleticism to match, but Detroit just drafted Kenny Golladay to fill that role long-term. It’s always good to have more offensive weapons, but with Detroit’s other needs, it’s hard to justify this pick at all.
Overall, there are reasons one could make for each of these three picks, but put them all together and you have a pretty troubling draft class for the Lions. Detroit needs defensive help, and you have to think that Matt Patricia is going to know that when he’s eventually hired as the new head coach. I find a draft like this to be very unlikely.
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