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Lions’ 2017 Draft Review

Dominick Panetta, Staff Writer/Student Life Editor

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Newly-minted Lion, Jarrad Davis. ESPN.com

The Detroit Lions are notorious for horrendous drafts. There are a few exceptions, but of course you will hit on a prospect every once in a while when you are consistently picking at the top of the draft. This, however, has seemed to change with the unfortunate death of previous owner William Clay Ford.

The Lions were horrible under WCF. Detroit has had one playoff victory since the NFL-AFL merger in 1966.

One.

Thankfully, things are looking up. Martha Ford is now in charge of the team. She hired a new GM, Bob Quinn, who did a stellar job last year with his first draft. Quinn was hired off of the New England Patriots staff, and he seems to hold their principal philosophy-Draft solid players with good character. He didn’t take many chances last year, and the same is true this year.

In the 1st round of the 2017 NFL draft, the Lions selected linebacker Jarrad Davis. Davis is a decent tackler and talented cover 2 linebacker. I understand this pick. He is a hard worker by all accounts, and he fits Bob Quinn’s profile of a defensive leader. Quinn seems to like the “safe bet” as opposed to someone who is a potential superstar with character issues.

This is why he passed on Ruben Foster, a projected top 5 pick who fell due to injury and character concerns. Foster is what is referred to as a “boom or bust candidate” with a very high ceiling. This rubbed a lot of fans the wrong way at first, including myself, but with further reflection, if I was a new GM I would do the same. I see Davis starting week 1 and being a defensive captain for years to come.

Quinn’s second round selection of Teez Tabor was ripped apart by most critics due to his lack of straight line speed displayed at the NFL Draft Combine. This did not stop Bob Quinn from taking him higher than many experts predicted. Quinn’s explanation for this was that he watched plenty of tape on Tabor, the most he’s watched on any player in his career. He says Tabor may not have shown NFL speed at the combine, but his speed and play on the field speaks for itself.

Tabor has allowed just two touchdowns in his time at the University of Florida, and has been burned just once (he slipped on the play).

Tabor glows with confidence, and I think that this along with his length and ball skills will help him develop into a great zone corner at the next level.

The rest of the draft was quite solid. Quinn addressed most of the needs of the team, but seemed to leave out two of the most glaring holes on the roster at running back and defensive end. When one takes a deeper look at these positions, though, one can find young talent with solid potential ready to develop into the role.

Kerry Hyder Jr. showed potential in limited time last year at defensive end, and Devin Taylor is a solid starter as is. Runningback is teeming with big play potential for the Lions. Ameer Abdullah flashes great potential whenever the ball is in his hands, Theo Riddick is the best 3rd down back in football, and Zach Zenner played very well when given the keys at the end of last season.

Bob Quinn stayed true to his strategy of drafting a quarterback every year/every other year and drafted Brad Kaaya in the 6th round, the same round as he drafter former Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock last year. Kaaya was the starting quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes for three years before declaring for the draft.

He has excellent footwork in the pocket and managed to break several passing records at Miami dispite an absolutely horrible offensive line. He will be competing with Jake Rudock for the backup quarterback job.

If I had to give Bob Quinn’s second draft a grade, I would give it a C+. It was relatively safe and relied heavily on football tape and not combine stats. Quinn is not only trying to build a team, but a culture.

He looks to be succeeding.

 

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Lions’ 2017 Draft Review