Detroit Lions & the 2016 NFL Draft: Under New Management

By: Kras

This year, in the 2016 NFL draft, the Detroit Lions went in with 10 draft picks in their possession. More importantly they went into this draft with a new GM in Bob Quinn. Quinn is the man tasked with getting the Lions to becoming a winning program. This year’s draft class was a start. Quinn and the Lions drafted BIG early and often in the draft and added much needed depth on both sides of the ball.

Round 1: Taylor Decker – OT – 6’ 7” 310 – 16th overall pick

I was surprised to see Decker on the board at 16 when the Lions picked and I thought that they might go defense with this pick but they didn’t, and they were right. Decker was one of the top 3-4 (depending on where Conklin ends up playing) tackles in the draft this early. I think the Lions were fortunate to land Decker and I think the trades by the Eagles and the Rams moving up to take their QB’s helped that. Decker will be a factor right away for the Lions and will likely start either at left or right tackle. Decker was very dependable during his college career, starting 42 straight games.

Round 2: A’Shawn Robinson – DT – 6’ 4” 307 – 46th overall pick

Robinson was who many had the Lions taking in the first round, so to be able to grab him 30 picks later is fantastic value at a position of need for the Lions. Robinson is the type of player that the Lions needed to get in this draft to try and help fill the void up front from Ndomukong Suh leaving. Robinson will be able to step into the rotation for Detroit right away and will be the long term replacement to Haloti Ngata.

Round 3: Graham Glasgow – C – 6’6” 307 – 95th overall pick

Glasgow is a solid pick for the Lions who added more depth to an offensive line that struggled at times at both the running and passing games last year and the year before that and the year….well, you get the point.

Glasgow is not much of a pass blocker but is versatile in the run gam, can hold blocks and create lanes for the RB’s. He will be able to play at either right or left guard and could challenge starting center Travis Swanson for that job.

Round 4: Miles Killebrew – S – 6’2’ 220 – 111th overall pick

A nice pick here for the Lions, as they also needed to add some reliable depth on the back end. Killebrew is a arguably the hardest hitting safety in this year’s draft (whatever that means) and he also has the ability to get to the ball. He was a four year starter in college and racked up 132 tackles his senior year. He will more likely be a strong safety but might have the potential to play OLB in a 3-4 look. To start with Killebrew will be a special teams option.

Round 5: Joe Dahl – G – 6’4” 304 – 151st overall pick

Another pick to build depth up front. Dahl played was a left tackle in his last year at Wazzou. With the Lions, however, he figures to settle in at the guard position. Dahl is similar to Glasgow in that they are both run blockers who will need some foot work grooming to help improve at pass blocking. Dahl is a known workaholic who is willing to put in the time and effort needed to succeed at the pro level.

Round 6: Antwione Williams – LB – 6’ 3” 245 – 169th overall pick

Williams is a versatile linebacker with the ability to line up all over the defensive side of the ball. He has true NFL size and great athleticism. He is exceptional in the run game but needs improvement on his ability to play the pass. Williams figures to compete for a special teams position and could get some run on D too.

Round 6: Jake Rudock QB – 6’ 3” 207 – 191st overall pick

Rudock was drafted by the Lions to begin his grooming as Matt Stafford’s back-up. Rudock was a local college product being the QB for the Michigan Wolverines. He played in a pro-style offense while at Michigan. Rudock has good accuracy and the ability to make reads at the pro level. The big questions for Rudock will be his quickness when throwing and his arm strength. He is not going to come in and take over the starting job by any means, however he could develop into a serviceable back-up.

Round 6: Anthony Zettel – DT – 6’ 4” 277 – 202nd overall pick

Zettel is one of those motor-always-running kind of guys. He never takes a play off when he is on the field and gives it his all on every play. Zettel is limited in his upside however do to his lack of size. When moved outside he is not quick enough to blow by the tackle and on the inside he is not strong enough to be able to maintain gap control when dealing with the quards. He will however go at 100% to make this roster and that will force the other players around him to perform at a higher level as well.

Round 6: Jimmy Landes – LS – 6” 1” 240 – 210th overall pick

I’m not completely sure what to make of this pick other that the Lions may be looking for a lond snapper in the near future to replace the 13 year veteran Don Muhldoch. Landes is a 3-year starter so he has some good experience. He is fairly accurate in punt snaps, while he may need a year to work on his field goal snaps.

Round 7: Dwayne Washington – RB – 6’ 2” 226 – 236th overall pick

Washington comes to the Lions, who are in need of another running back, to possibly add to the roster. Washington comes in posting 4.44 40 yard dash time at his pro day. Washington has big play ability and is an excellent pass catch out of the back field which is great to see out of the big back. If Washington can remain healthy, which is a concern, it will be interesting to see if and where he ends up on the Lions RB depth chart.

Overall in his first draft as GM, I feel that Bob Quinn helped the Lions get better on both sides of the ball and primarily in the trenches where the Lions have fallen short over the last few years. Personally, I would have liked to see them take a couple more skill position players in the middle to late rounds of the draft but if they feel they have those players in place already, then invest in the guys that help create the time and lanes for the rest of the offense to work. I think overall Quinn did a satisfactory job with is first 10 draft picks while working his way through the draft and helping the Lions get better.

Any players that you wanted to see the Lions take that they didn’t? Let me know who and where you thought the Lions should have taken them.

Comments and suggestions always welcome.

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