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2019 NFL Draft grades roundup: Detroit Lions with a bottom-10 class?

What do national analysts think of Detroit’s draft class?

NFL: NFL Draft Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, we know immediate draft grades are meaningless. In four years, analysts are going to have a completely different take on the 2019 NFL Draft. Players were bust. Others will outplay their draft position. Rinse and repeat every year.

But we’re now at the beginning of the abyss. With no real football events or substantial practices between now and training camp, now is the time for endless speculation and reckless predicting.

The Detroit Lions 2019 NFL Draft class has had some mixed reviews locally. Our own Alex Reno gave it an overall grade of a B. 54 percent of fans agree, but 37 percent gave it a C or lower.

Now let’s look to the national audience. While NFL analysts across the web have a lesser knowledge of the Lions themselves, they are also not bound by favoritism to Detroit.

Thankfully, Rene Bugner was nice enough to gather 13 of the most prominent NFL Draft graders and average them together to rank all 32 draft classes. Take a look.

The Detroit Lions came in at 25th with a 2.59 overall GPA—about a B- average overall.

But let’s dive into some of these individual draft grades to see where analysts think the Lions went right, and where they went wrong.

The Good

“Hockenson is the best TE prospect to enter the league since Vernon Davis, and if I was forced to bet my life on one player from this class making the Hall of Fame, it’d be him.” — Rotoworld’s Thor Nystrom

“One of the most pro-ready tight ends I’ve scouted in the last decade. He’s advanced as a blocker — he consistently piledrives edge defenders — and will contribute in the passing game, lined up in the slot or outside the tackle. My comp for him has been longtime Steeler Heath Miller, a really good player.” — Mel Kiper Jr. on Hockenson

“He has good instincts and flashes as a run-stopper with good closing speed. I thought he’d be a good midround sleeper, so Detroit getting him at No. 81 is solid value.” — Todd McShay on Will Harris

Jahlani Tavai has the thumping size that Patricia, who also takes a Patriots-style approach on defense, covets. Will Harris provides crucial depth, as Patricia likes to play with three, and sometimes four, safeties on the field.” —’s Andy Benoit

“Although there were some reaches for the front seven and secondary, they got several versatile players Matt Patricia can mold well.” — Vinnie Iyer of Sporting News

The Bad

“I was less excited about the second-round pick of Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai, who doesn’t always match his on-field instincts with the athleticism needed to excel at the next level.”

“Outside of Hockenson, though, nobody really stands out here.” — TD Wire’s Doug Farrar

“(After the Hockenson pick) it was easy to wonder whether every player Detroit picked came off the board too soon.” —Washington Post’s Mark Maske


Though the Lions came out with a collective bottom-10 grade when averaging the grades, you wouldn’t really know it from reading the explanations provided. The biggest complaints were reaches and just being a little underwhelmed by Detroit’s choices. However, mostly everyone understood the picks, just weren’t blown away by them.

In fact, if you look a little closer at the grades themselves, that’s the common theme. No one is blown away, but everyone kind of understands what the Lions are doing. Detroit didn’t get a grade higher than B+, but they also didn’t get a grade lower than C-. There literally isn’t another single team that can claim the same. Every other team either got an A-range grade or a D-range grade somewhere among the 13 analysts.

I guess the Lions’ 2019 NFL Draft was just “meh” to most people.

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