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2021 NFL Draft Day 2 grades, analysis: Detroit Lions building ‘sneaky’ good class

Opinions are all over the place with the Lions’ Day 2 picks, but a few believe Detroit is having an under-the-radar draft.

Detroit Lions (AP)

The reaction to the Detroit Lions’ Day 2 picks were all over the place. While many remain in a panic over the team’s decision to pass over more immediate needs like wide receiver and linebacker, others see the value in general manager Brad Holmes’ decisions thus far.

When it comes to the national audience Day 2 grades tend to be incredibly inconsistent across the board. There typically isn’t much consensus from writers, as opinions on Day 2 picks aren’t nearly as uniform as first rounders.

So before I get into the nitty-gritty of some of these draft grades, let’s butter up Lions fans with a couple of draft analysts that loved what the Lions did on Friday night of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Alright, grades time:

Draft Wire (Luke Easterling)

  • Levi Onwuzurike: B

“The Lions got value at a position that won’t offer much of it in this year’s draft. There were a few more prospects on the board with higher grades, but it’s hard to argue with this one.”

  • Alim McNeill: B

“Dan Campbell is definitely setting the tone for his first draft as head coach, getting another tough, nasty player for his defensive front. McNeill is a massive mauler who will be a perfect fit.”

  • Ifeatu Melifonwu: B+

“the Lions themselves grab a player that could have easily been an early second-round pick on the back end of Day 2. Melifonwu’s combination of size, length and athleticism is exactly what every NFL team wants in their outside cover guys.” (Chad Reuter) — Full Day 2 grade: C+

“Building on the lines is great, but ignoring other positions of need could cause depth issues during the season. Melifonwu has the length and size to be a solid outside corner, but he has to be more physical to stick in the league long-term.”

CBS Sports (Chris Trapasso)

“Deceptive first-step quicks. Hand work could improve slightly. Seems like a big-time Dan Campbell pick.”

“Athletic nose tackle with a serious first step and a devastating bull rush. Not much else in his arsenal. Did Lions really need to pick two defensive linemen today?”

“Long, insanely explosive outside corner who can stay with receivers because of good agility too.”

Bleacher Report (Brent Sobleski)

  • Levi Onwuzurike: C+

“Detroit has struggled to find disruptive defensive linemen for quite some time. Onwuzurike has the chance to be a consistent presence in opposing backfields.”

  • Alim McNeill: F

“The Lions have now gone three picks without addressing wide receiver. Their wideouts are easily the league’s worst, but they’ve started off the draft with an offensive tackle and two defensive tackles.

“Winning at the point of attack is nice. At the same time, Detroit needs an offensive playmaker of some sort.”

  • Ifeatu Melifonwu: C

“Just the fact that Detroit finally added to a different position group gives the Lions a slight reprieve, though the lingering issues at wide receiver aren’t going away anytime soon.” (Tim Bielik) — Full Day 2 grade: A-

“The message of Detroit’s draft is clear: they’re out to fix the offensive and defensive lines.”

Football Outsiders (Mike Tanier)

“Onwuzurike’s overall game needs refinement, particularly after an opt-out season. But it’s easier to rein in a defender who wins with his first step and uses his hands well than it is to coach up a slower, more methodical lineman. Onwuzurike has the upside to make some team wish they drafted him earlier.”

“McNeill is a rugged, burly little Poona Ford type with minimal pass-rush value. The Lions are clearly getting carried away with the “WE WILL BE TUFF IN THE TRENCHES” routine, especially since their receiver corps is currently a travesty.”

“He’s more of a project than some of the cornerbacks in this class who grew up in NFL locker rooms, but his raw tools make him intriguing.”

Yahoo! Sports (Erik Edholm)

“Onwuzurike potentially gives them what they didn’t have: a rusher on passing downs. He opted out last season. He was viewed as a borderline first-/second-round prospect.”

“His power and quickness are unusual, and he teams with Levi Onwuzurike to give the Lions some new blood and depth on the defensive line.”

“His length and athletic traits are top-50 worthy, even if Melifonwu needs to start turning his pass breakups into interceptions. Still, he’s a rare specimen to find at this stage of the draft and a fine addition for Detroit at this point.”

Pride of Detroit (Jeremy Reisman)

Pride of Detroit (Fan polls)

Levi Onwuzurike

  • A - 17%
  • B - 56%
  • C - 17%
  • D - 7%
  • F - 3%

Alim McNeill

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