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2018 NFL draft grades: Final report card for the Detroit Lions

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NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

1st round (20): OC/OG Frank Ragnow (Arkansas)

At first, I wasn’t a very big fan of the pick. Ragnow is a great player, but I initially thought there were other players on the board that would have made for a better pick. Heck, I even liked Wynn and Hernandez more if we’re talking interior offensive linemen. But now that I’ve had some more time to think about it, I like the pick a lot more now.

Everything you hear about Ragnow is overwhelmingly positive and the most important thing is that he was a top player available at a big position of need. I really wanted Harold Landry in this spot, but it’s pretty clear that the concerns were real and there was something there that made every other team pass up on him in the first, too. This is a solid pick.

Role: Starter (Most likely center or left guard)
Grade: B

2nd round (43): RB Kerryon Johnson (Auburn)

My grade for the pick itself? Probably an A. The trade up? I’m not as happy about that. Let’s get one thing straight, “reach” is such an overused term and simply a term that we have no right to say when it comes to the draft, because we have no idea what NFL teams’ boards look like. There is a good chance that Kerryon wasn’t going to be there at 51, considering the run on RBs that happened before the pick and the fact that the Redskins were rumored to have wanted him at 44.

The Lions got their running back, and that was near the top of my Christmas list, so I really like this pick. Kerryon was a top-five running back in the class to me, and fits the offense well. His patience, vision and explosiveness are all top-tier, and he immediately becomes the most talented running back on the roster.

Role: Role player/Starter
Grade: B+

3rd round (82): S Tracy Walker (Louisiana-Lafayette)

Again, I hate to use the term “reach.” Just because some of us had never heard of the kid, does not make it a reach. Walker was another guy that was rumored to have gone a few picks later, this time to the Carolina Panthers, who had their GM attend his Pro Day (that did not showcase many other players).

Still, I’m not as high on the pick because I thought there were better players available at bigger needs that could likely give the Lions a better return on investment and make a bigger impact as a rookie as well. Harrison Phillips is one name I liked in the third round that went several picks later. Ronnie Harrison and Tarvarius Moore are two safeties I thought would be better value, but clearly the Lions did not.

Walker is a gambler, so to speak, and had eight career interceptions for the Ragin’ Cajuns. His length, athleticism and versatility are some of his best traits and the fact that he played all over the field for Louisiana’s defense is a big plus and something that I know Bob Quinn and his staff look for when adding players.

Role: Developmental (possible Quin replacement further down the road)
Grade: C

4th round (114): DE/DT Da’Shawn Hand (Alabama)

Speaking of versatility, Here’s what Bob had to say about the man they traded up for in the fourth round:

Hand does not look all that impressive to me on tape, but the Lions did add a defensive lineman, nonetheless, which was something I was really hoping they’d address at some point in the draft. I think Hand’s best fit for the defensive is as a three-tech, and he could also see plenty of work as an end opposite of Ziggy.

Role: Rotational D-lineman (3-tech and 5-tech)
Grade: B

5th round (153): OT Tyrell Crosby (Oregon)

This might have been my favorite pick in terms of value. Like Ragnow, Crosby did not allow a single sack last year and, by most draft outlets, was supposedly projected to leave the board in the second or third round. So why did he drop all the way into the fifth? Well, I’m not entirely sure. Crosby has plenty of positive traits and, most importantly for the Lions, he’s a fantastic run blocker. According to Pro Football Focus’ draft guide, Crosby did not line up for many “true” pass sets in college (a little less severe than Joe Dahl in Washington State’s scheme) and has slow feet for the position.

Crosby was listed as a tackle (Quinn himself believes he is a tackle first and foremost) and played both tackle spots in college, but most are projecting him to move inside. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but this player adds some versatility to the Lions’ O-line and gives them some good depth moving forward. I really like this pick.

Role: Developmental (tackle depth and eventual starter)
Grade: A

7th round (237): FB Nick Bawden (San Diego State)

Many fans wanted Rashaad Penny for the Lions out of San Diego State, but they get his teammate instead. Bawden was responsible for paving the way for Penny, guiding him to his nation-leading 2,248 rushing yards in 2017. It’s clear now that the front office’s plan was to focus heavily on fixing the run game in the 2018 NFL Draft and this was the last piece of the puzzle for them.

There were a few guys I really liked in this spot instead of Bawden, like Richie James, the slot receiver out of Middle Tennessee State, but it’s hard to not like this pick anyway. This was a nice addition to cap off the event.

Role: Role player (he’s their fullback when they need one out there)
Grade: B+

Overall Grade: B

Overall, this looks like a very nice draft class heading into training camp, and I’m excited to see how these pieces will fit into the coaches’ scheme. Quinn netted himself a starting interior offensive lineman, one of the top running backs, a fullback, as well as some good developmental pieces and roster depth.


What grade do the Lions get for their 2018 draft class?

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  • 5%
    (245 votes)
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  • 5%
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    (141 votes)
  • 2%
    (105 votes)
  • 1%
    (44 votes)
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