When a team shows a lot of public interest in an NFL Draft prospect, it’s always hard to parse through their true intentions. If they are truly interested in the player, obviously the team want to get as much informations as possible before drafting him. However, tip your hand too much publicly, and another team that likes that player could prepare to jump you in the draft to get him. That’s why, when the Lions decided to draft Frank Ragnow, they didn’t show even a hint of interest.
“They actually mentioned that on the phone that they really tried to keep it under the radar, their interest in me, and I was very surprised,” Ragnow said after being drafted.
With Utah edge defender Bradlee Anae, the Lions seem to be taking the opposite approach. Detroit got a full week’s worth a work with Anae when they coached him at the Senior Bowl. Anae turned out to be one of the Senior Bowl standouts both the week of practice and the game (three sacks).
And apparently that wasn’t enough Bradlee Anae for the Detroit Lions. Per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Lions also had a teleconference with Anae this offseason:
Utah DE @BradleeAnae has had teleconference meetings with the #Jets, #Lions, #Bears, #Titans and #Browns recently. Projected Day 2 prospect had 13 sacks for the Utes last season.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 17, 2020
Anae’s fit in Detroit is quite clear, and it’s why he’s one of my draft crushes in Day 2 of the draft. At 6-foot-3, 257 pounds, Anae is a clear fit as the jack linebacker in Matt Patricia’s system. This offseason, the Lions released starting jack linebacker Devon Kennard, and now they only have Jamie Collins Sr. to take his place, who will likely play other positions, as well. With Anae, Detroit could bring him about slowly, not give him a starting role right away, and learn under one of the best linebackers to have played in this Patriots defensive scheme.
Or the Lions could be bluffing. It’s rare for this front office to let any information out into the public, so there’s a chance the Lions put this out for a reason. What is that reason? Maybe we’ll find out next week when the Lions are on the clock.