Detroit Lions April Scouting Report
Draft preview: The Lions enter the draft with picks 3, 35, 67, 85, 109, 149, 166, 182, and 235. That is a total of 9 picks with an extra pick in round 3 and round 5. That pick at 3 should have value if a team wants to trade up for Tua so the Lions could end up with more picks if they can trade down.
QB: Remember the Lions added QB Chase Daniel in free agency to back up QB Matthew Stafford. Could they draft a developmental quarterback to be the third stringer? Perhaps. Could that be Tua (or Justin Herbert) at 3? Doubtful. It’s been a hot topic on local radio, but I would say the odds the Lions pick Tua (or Herbert) are no more than 5 percent. The most likely scenario has Burrow and Chase Young going 1-2. If the Lions stay at 3 I would say it’s 85 percent Jeff Okudah, 5 percent Tua/Herbert, and 10 percent someone else. If Tua somehow goes at 2, I would say it’s 99 percent the Lions take Young. There is some late developing chatter that the Lions would prefer Herbert over Tua. But I think the quarterback talk for the most part is a typical pre-draft smokescreen.
RB: There was some talk about the Lions being interested in RB Devonta Freeman, who was released by Atlanta a few weeks back. Some have said the Lions were looking at him before the trade deadline last year. The Lions haven’t done anything with running backs in free agency and I feel like adding talent behind RB Kerryon Johnson is a bigger need than some might think. I would strongly consider grabbing a running back at 35 overall. They could have some strong possibilities there. Swift of Georgia might go in round 1, but I like Taylor of Wisconsin, Edwards-Helaire of LSU, and Dobbins of Ohio State as options in round 2. If the board doesn’t fall right, perhaps they circle back after the draft for a veteran like Freeman.
WR/TE: After focusing on defense in the early wave of free agency, the Lions picked up two receivers in recent weeks. First they signed WR Geremy Davis who is mostly a special teams guy, then they added former Packer WR Geronimo Allison. Allison figures to slide in as the 4th receiver on the depth chart for now. I still feel like the Lions need to draft a receiver in the mid rounds. Everyone says this is a deep receiver draft and the Lions to add someone to the pipeline. It has been well documented that they don’t have a receiver under contract beyond 2020. That could change as WR Kenny Golladay will get an extension this summer. He was a third round pick who developed into a nice player and it’s time to find another Golladay. How about some of the intriguing receiver that could be available at pick 85 or 109, like Claypool of Notre Dame, Peoples-Jones of Michigan, Gandy-Golden of Liberty, etc. One final receiver note, apparently there was a trade rumor involving WR Julian Edelman and the Lions, but it turned out to be an April Fools joke that some in the media were slow to grasp. Tight end is not a high priority but they could draft one in the late rounds for depth.
OL: If there is a guard on the board at 35 who would be a plug and play starter, the Lions should consider it. In some mocks that is Cesar Ruiz of Michigan. If not, they can cobble together a starting line with the guys on the current roster. I wouldn’t be shocked if they drafted a guard and a developmental tackle at some point in the draft.
DL: Chase Young would inject badly needed juice into a sad pass rush if the Lions can somehow get him at 3. The other scenario where the Lions could add an impact player to their defensive line would be if they trade down from 3 to perhaps 5 or 6 which would bring Derrick Brown of Auburn and Javon Kinlaw of South Carolina into play for the interior of the defensive line. Rebuilding the defensive tackle position was a big project this offseason and there should be an addition to that group at some point in this draft.
LB: Linebacker is not a high priority in this draft in my opinion. If anything, the Lions are a little crowded right now at linebacker. There were some trade rumors a few weeks ago around LB Jarrad Davis, but they were shot down. Davis can be a productive IDP option, so keep an eye on this. I wouldn’t rule out a scenario where the Lions dump Davis for some extra draft capital.
DB: As we said earlier, drafting CB Jeff Okudah is the most likely scenario. It would make sense for Okudah to step in to replace the traded Darius Slay. Is it too high to draft a corner at 3? I guess you could make that argument, but Cleveland took Denzel Ward at 4 in 2018. The Lions should be set for now at safety.
ST: The Lions lost punter Sam Martin in free agency so drafting a punter is a possibility.
Next month we will review the draft.
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Sunday, September 13th, 2020
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