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2018 NFL draft grades: Detroit Lions’ Day 2 picks get mixed reviews

Experts liked one pick, but were puzzled by the other.

NCAA Football: UL Lafayette at Texas A&M Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

It was a rollercoaster day for the Detroit Lions on Friday, as the team made one pick that made a lot of fans and analysts happy, and another that sent even the most intense draftniks straight to Google.

Although the Lions spent precious draft capital to grab Kerryon Johnson in the second round of the draft, many believed in the pick simply because it filled what has been a perceived need for several years.

But when Detroit selected small-school defensive back Tracy Walker, the reaction was very different. Most had not heard of the Louisiana-Lafayette product and the ones who knew of him believed he was a late-Day 3 pick.

However, there are a lot of differing opinions out there, too. Let’s take at several publication’s Day 2 draft grades.

RB Kerryon Johnson

Pride of Detroit (Fan poll):

While the pick received a lot of A votes (28 percent) there were also a fair amount of F votes for the choice (seven percent). As expected, the trade up was more unpopular, seeing as Detroit was already scarce on picks. A whopping 25 percent of fans gave the trade terms a D or F for the team.

CBS (Pete Prisco): A

Prisco, who was a pretty big fan of Detroit’s selection of Frank Ragnow, thinks Johnson will be “a big-time producer on the ground” with the Lions. (Andy Benoit): B

Benoit notes the Lions’ commitment to finally get a running game in Detroit after picking both Johnson and Ragnow. Matthew Stafford should be the beneficiary of the two picks, Benoit writes. “With a ground game to balance the offense, he has a chance to now become a line-of-scrimmage-audibling field general that outsider can finally appreciate.”

Sports Illustrated (Mike Tanier): C+

Tanier is the one pick that seems to be low on Johnson. He calls the Auburn running back “a committee back” whose physical running back could get him into health trouble at the next level.

Pro Football Weekly (Arthur Arkush): B+

calls the play to move up “a decent amount to give up” but clearly likes Johnson. He calls him “a really tough runner who gains every inch and matches the mold of first-rounder Frank Ragnow.”

S Tracy Walker

Pride of Detroit (fan poll): C-

It should come as little surprise that a player most, if not all, fans had never heard of got a pretty unpopular grade from fans. And while safety was certainly a need for the team, it wasn’t as dire as some other positions.

CBS (Pete Prisco): B

Prisco calls this a “good pick,” pointing to Walker’s versatility and Matt Patricia’s affinity for flexible defensive backs. (Andy Benoit): B

Benoit believes Walker won’t start Day 1, because he won’t have to. However, with Tavon Wilson, Glover Quin and Miles Killebrew all due to hit free agency soon, Walker could quickly develop into a significant starter, and even get specific package looks early on.

Sports Illustrated (Mike Tanier): C-

Like many, Tanier views Walker as “a developmental flier,” and thinks the third round is too early for Detroit to take a chance on a guy like him. That being said, Tanier likes his instincts and his high motor.

Pro Football Weekly (Eric Edholm): C

didn’t have a lot of positive things to say about Walker. He gives him the benefit of good size and solid athleticism, but says that scouts didn’t like the way he developed at Louisiana-Lafayette. In fact, he said some teams are considering a positional change to cornerback.

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