By Michael Downes
Day one is officially over and there is only one word that comes to mind to describe it: wild. Three teams traded up in the first 12 picks to grab quarterbacks. The Chicago Bears traded up from No. 3 to No. 2 and took Mitchell Trubisky from North Carolina, the Kansas City Chiefs shot up to No. 10 to take Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes II and the Houston Texans walked away with Deshaun Watson after exchanging their 25th pick to 12th. A draft that was supposed to be a defensive heavy draft started with a lot of offensive players.
Detroit Lions Pick Jarrad Davis
With all the defensive talent falling, it put the Detroit Lions in a great spot. It needed to lean defensively. Linebacker was a big area of need for the Lions, and with a name like Rueben Foster, a linebacker from Alabama, or Michigan’s Defensive End Taco Charlton falling to them, it seemed like a match made in heaven. However, the Lions may have turned some heads when they picked Jarrad Davis, a linebacker out of Florida.
Davis is a great value pick for the Lions, he addresses an immediate need. He may not have been the best pick available, but the team went out and grabbed the player they wanted. He was a two year starter at Florida and did nothing but improve. His senior year was cut short due to an ankle injury, but he still managed to put up great numbers. He was incredibly consistent, averaging over 6.5 tackles a game in both his junior and senior year. His coverage skills got better as he deflected four passes in each of those seasons.
Davis has to work on his size. He’s got decent height, 6-foot-1, for a linebacker, but the weight, 238 pounds, is a little too light. He struggled in college to shed blocks and can get lost in the trenches. That will only get worse at the NFL level unless he is able to put on some weight and get stronger. He needs to work on his discipline as well. Davis was known to over extend on run plays. With good coaching, which the Lions have with Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin, he will only get better.
Day Two Expectations
There is still plenty of great talent for the Lions to choose from in the second and third rounds. The biggest name to watch has to be Joe Mixon, a running back out of Oklahoma. The Lions General Manager Bob Quinn has expressed plenty of interest in him and was boisterous about Mixon not being invited to the NFL Combine in March. The Lions do need help at running back, they have plenty of talent at the position, but lack that true No. 1 back.
Two big names that would help out the defensive front four are Michigan State’s defensive end Malik McDowell and Auburn’s edge Carl Lawson. Both of these players would be great additions to a spotty defensive line. Both players could take a lot a pressure off of Defensive End Ezekiel Ansah. McDowell will likely be a second round pick and Lawson could easily fall to the third.
There is also a long list of defensive backs for the Lions to choose from. Budda Baker and Obi Melifonwu are both safeties from Washington and UConn respectively. There is an abundance of corners as well. Players like Zay Jones from East Carolina, Jourdan Lewis from Michigan and Teez Tabor from Florida are all viable options for the Lions in the next two rounds.