It’s 4 Questions time again. Lions GM Bob Quinn really was on a mission here this summer, wasn’t he? That mission, of course, was to bring back the Lions run game, a feat that nobody has accomplished since Barry Sanders retirement in 1999. Seriously, guys, the Lions haven’t ranked higher than 17th in rushing yards since then.
We’ve seen all that Quinn has done so far. He signed Kenny Wiggins and Wesley Johnson to add better depth to the line, he signed LeGarrette Blount to help shore up those third-and-1 issues, he drafted Frank Ragnow to control the middle of the line, and he drafted Kerryon Johnson to potentially be the Lions’ feature back. But he wasn’t done. He went and grabbed Oregon lineman Tyrell Crosby in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The motive is clear: The Lions had some serious issues on their offensive line in 2017. Matthew Stafford got sacked more in 2017 than he had ever been sacked. As we mentioned, the Lions run game was ranked 32nd in the league and injuries ran rampant. The Lions want depth to protect them, but they clearly want good depth. This is why Crosby is here.
But I want to know more about the man, so I got in touch with Robert Stewart of Oregon Duck blog Addicted to Quack for answers. Here’s what he had to say.
POD: What are your overall thoughts on Crosby’s time at Oregon?
ATQ: “He was a fantastic player for us both on & off the field. His on-field production spoke for itself—during his senior year the Ducks had the 2nd best rushing offense in the Pac-12 with over 250 yards per game, Royce Freeman finished his career with the all-time Pac-12 rushing TD record, & Tyrell did not give up a single sack throughout the year. After the season he was awarded the Morris Trophy, which goes to the best Pac-12 offensive linemen as voted by conference D-linemen.
Off the field he’s a smart & overall really good guy. He was one of the main players involved in one of our coolest 2017 community outreach projects working with kids who’d survived cancer to design the uniforms for last year’s game against Nebraska. The offensive line isn’t typically a role that lends itself to celebrity, but he was a great ambassador for the team & I assume he will continue that in Detroit.”
POD: What are his strengths?
ATQ: “It all starts with his size - 6’5” and 309lbs, really long arms, wide frame, powerful lower body, all stuff you want in an OT. Versatile, can play either left or right tackle. Physical in the run game, good balance, agile & fast enough to be effective pulling & getting up to the next level on screen passes. Despite being a nice guy off the field he had a relentless style on it, blocking through the whistle & often driving his man into the turf - I’d often rewind the DVR during a game to watch him just obliterate some defensive player.”
POD: What are his weaknesses?
ATQ: “His pass blocking isn’t as developed as run blocking, and he could improve his overall technique & footwork coming out of his stance in pass protection. Injuries might be a concern too. He suffered a season-ending foot injury early in his junior year, and from what I’ve heard some NFL scouts were concerned about his concussion history (though this was literally the first I’d heard of that as an Oregon fan).
And as much as I defend Oregon’s uptempo spread as it relates to putting linemen in the NFL, there *will* be an adjustment period. I’m guessing some teams passed because he’s not necessarily a come-in-and-play-right-now guy.”
POD: With the Lions line as stacked as it’s suddenly become, where can Crosby make his mark?
ATQ: “In the short-term he helps provide great depth for Detroit and his versatility means he can step in as-needed after any potential OL attrition. In the longer term, I’d guess he winds up at right tackle but a transition to guard isn’t out of the question depending on how the Lions’ roster looks down the road. I think it’s a savvy pick by Quinn actually, Crosby’s pros & cons match well with Detroit’s OL situation as a whole.
Obviously Oregon fans are biased on the subject, but we were extremely surprised he fell to the 5th round. You guys probably got one of the best value picks in the draft IMO, and picked up a bunch of new Detroit fans out here in the Pacific NW.”
Great stuff from Robert here that. This should get Lions fans a little excited about the future. Crosby could be a guy that’s groomed to eventually take over for Rick Wagner some day. But, for now, he’s a guy the Lions should be able to flex in and out all season long. I like this pick by the Lions.
Thanks again to Robert Stewart. if you’re ever looking for good Oregon content, I recommend you check out his and everyone else’s work out over at Addicted to Quack.