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Notes: Anthony Zettel is a perfect example of a late-round gem

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Pro Football Focus calls the defensive end one of the better picks from the last three rounds in recent drafts.

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
  • Pro Football Focus put the spotlight on 10 recent late-round picks who have been contributors at the NFL level. Anthony Zettel made the list, thanks to the big step up in production he showed in 2017. PFF is impressed with the positional transition he has made since joining the Lions:

What’s interesting with Zettel is that he moved from being an interior player in college to the edge with the Lions, but with 12 sacks, five hits and 49 hurries over the final two seasons of his college career, there were always hints that he could make an impact as a pass-rusher in the NFL.

  • Our own Kent Lee Platte published a must-read piece for the Detroit News ahead of the draft. Using his signature Relative Athletic Score, Kent examines some of the options for Detroit at the defensive tackle position. Fortunately, for the Lions, there will be plenty of opportunities to snag an impact player:

Following free agency, the Detroit Lions should still be itching for defensive line help coming into the 2018 draft. The team’s apparent need for interior help coincides with a draft tailor made to address it.

Interior defensive linemen are plentiful in this prospect class, but it’s also quality as well as quantity that makes this draft ideal.

  • The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reported on the new protocols that will take place regarding field conditions as they relate to player safety. These changes stem from research relating playing surfaces to injuries and will require field checks before every game:

Within 72 hours of each home game, NFL teams must test their fields for hardness and certify that they comply with league rules. Fields that are too hard must be fixed and retested before game day.

In addition to hardness, grass fields are tested for moisture, while synthetic fields are tested for depth of infill, a substance such as crumb rubber that cushions artificial surfaces.

  • After eight seasons in Dallas, the Cowboys announced the release of Dez Bryant on Friday. The once-electric receiver is three years removed from his last 10-touchdown and 1000-yard season.