Detroit Lions April Scouting Report
Draft preview: The Lions enter the draft with picks 8, 43, 88, 111, 146, 184, 204, 224, and 229. That is a total of 9 picks but the extra picks are in round 6 and 7. Look for Detroit to try to add a couple extra picks by trading down if possible. Bob Quinn has said publically he will listen to offers for that #8 pick. As you look at Detroit’s roster as it currently stands, there are some holes, but I don’t think there is any one position that stands out above the others, so the Lions have the flexibility to go in a few different directions in the draft.
QB: There was some off the field news this month as QB Matthew Stafford’s wife Kelly announced on social media that she had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and would need surgery. Of course everybody is hoping she will be OK. Just from a football standpoint, there are no indications this will affect Stafford’s playing status. I was trying to think of any similar situations in recent years and I was drawing a blank, although I remember back in the 90s Chris Spielman took a year off from the NFL while his wife was battling cancer. We’ll have to wait and see what happens here. On the field, the Lions appear to have a new backup as they signed free agent QB Tom Savage. The Lions could look for a developmental quarterback in the mid to late rounds of the draft. They have taken a look at Tyree Jackson, the interesting prospect from Buffalo.
RB: The Lions made a pretty significant signing since my last report, picking up RB CJ Anderson, formerly of the Rams. Anderson figures to be the backup (and handcuff) to RB Kerryon Johnson. Remember, we are expecting the Lions to be a run heavy offense, and they do not want Johnson to carry too much of the load. Anderson could get 15 touches per week if he can find that magic he had late in the season with the Rams. I think this means the depth chart is pretty much set at this position, and I wouldn’t expect the Lions to draft a running back until very late if at all, possibly with the intent of developing a rookie on the practice squad.
WR/TE: There are some mocks that have Detroit taking TJ Hockenson of Iowa at 8. I saw a stat that said there have only been 8 tight ends picked in the top 10 in the last decade or so. Detroit has done it twice, with underwhelming results each time. The fans will not like it if they take Hockenson, even if he is the next Gronk. TE Luke Willson signed with Oakland as a free agent. I think the Lions will draft a tight end at some point in this draft and they have looked at many tight ends during the private visit portion of the predraft process. I think it would make sense to draft a receiver as well. There’s not a lot of proven depth behind WR Kenny Golladay and WR Marvin Jones other than WR Danny Amendola who is a 1 year stop gap.
OL: It is well documented that the Lions have used a lot of resources on the line in recent years. They do have 4 of 5 starters returning, but some think they could go with a lineman in round 1 to fill the potential hole at right guard. Jonah Williams of Alabama would be the guy to watch.
DL: The Lions added DE Trey Flowers as their biggest free agent signing, but like most teams, they could always use more help with their pass rush. An edge rusher like Montez Sweat could be in play at 8. Defensive tackle is less of an immediate need, but it can’t be ruled out either.
LB: Devin White of LSU could be a consideration at 8 as he would pair up with Jarrad Davis to give the Lions a dynamic pair of every down linebackers. Otherwise I think the Lions mostly stick with what they have at this position, as Quinn prefers to build in the trenches.
DB: This doesn’t look like a very strong draft for corners as I am seeing mocks with no corners in the top 20. I expect the Lions to draft a corner at some point as they need a little more depth there despite investing in the position in free agency. CB Teez Tabor is down to his last chance so it would be good to get a young corner in the pipeline.
ST: The Lions do not need to draft any specialists.
Week 1 Sept. 8 at Arizona 4:25
Week 2 Sept. 15 vs. LA Chargers 1:00
Week 3 Sept. 22 at Philadelphia 1:00
Week 4 Sept. 29 vs. Kansas City 1:00
Week 5 Oct. 6 BYE
Week 6 (MON) Oct. 14 at Green Bay 8:15
Week 7 Oct. 20 vs. Minnesota 1:00
Week 8 Oct. 27 vs. NY Giants 1:00
Week 9 Nov. 3 at Oakland 4:05
Week 10 Nov. 10 at Chicago 1:00
Week 11 Nov. 17 vs. Dallas 1:00
Week 12 Nov 24 at Washington 1:00
Week 13 (THU) Nov. 28 vs Chicago 12:30
Week 14 Dec. 8 at Minnesota 1:00
Week 15 Dec. 15 vs. Tampa Bay 1:00
Week 16 Dec. 21/22 at Denver TBD
Week 17 Dec. 29 vs. Green Bay 1:00
Schedule thoughts: Nothing that really stands out for fantasy value purposes. If you look at the outdoor road games you’ve got Philly and Green Bay early in the year which figure to be OK from a weather standpoint, but Chicago in the middle and Denver late could bring uncertainty. The fantasy playoff stretch from week 14 to 16 has the potentially tough Vikings and Broncos defenses on the Lions schedule, but week 15 vs Tampa Bay looks favorable. With the early bye in week 5, Lions players could be useful in the middle of the season when fantasy depth is tested.
Next month we will review the draft.
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Sunday, September 13th, 2020
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