Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Lions Roster Moves - May 3rd and 4th 2016 - That's 'May the 4th be with you' to you Star Wars fans.


3 in 3 out.

As I stated last night, the Lions cut C Braxton Cave and TE Casey Pierce (yesterday) so that created two openings. Today we find out that two undrafted free agents were signed in their place; WR Jace Billingsley, Eastern Oregon and DE Deonte Gibson, Northwestern. Then later today we find they also cut TE Jordan Thompson and sign veteran free agent WR (from Denver) Andre Caldwell. Since the draft, before any OTAs even started, and having not drafted any, the Lions have cut two tight ends. Does this tell you what they believe they have in UDFA TE Cole Wick (or TE Adam Fuehne)? At the same time they cut a center and sign a vet WR, a undrafted WR and an undrafted DE. We already know the roster is thin at DE, but it appears they haven't quite as much instant belief in the undrafted WRs as they do in the tight ends.

Now I believe that Andre Caldwell is merely the vet backup plan in case the one (or more) undrafted WRs do not work out so well. Until the contract info is released though this is just a guess. That leaves us with 2 new undrafted players, let's view the RAS on them shall we?

WR Jace Billinsley (no RAS available) Took part in Nevada's pro day. Wasn't scouted. This from the article I read.

Billingsley is the kind of off-the-radar prospect pro days can help. Since he played for Eastern Oregon, an NAIA school, he wasn’t scouted. But Nevada allowed him to take part in pro day and he showed good strength (25 reps on the bench) and had the fastest 40-time (an unofficial time of around 4.40). Billingsley rushed for 843 yards, caught 50 passes for 385 yards and scored 11 touchdowns in 10 games for the Mountaineers in 2015. He impressed the Wolf Pack alums.

“He came out here and did 25 on the bench,” said Jackson, who ran through all the drills with Billingsley. “I said, ‘Somebody missed that in recruiting. Somebody really missed that.’ He was out in Eastern Oregon. He came out here and he did great, too. That was really good to see.”

Among the NFL teams in attendance were scouts from the Raiders, Lions, Patriots, Jaguars, Cowboys, 49ers, Buccaneers and Cardinals. Edmonton and Ottawa of the CFL also were in attendance.




Also, let's compare the RAS of Caldwell, to ah, Fuller (since it was already done for me lol):


The Lions keep adding players who 'fit the suite' and they are now at 12 undrafted free agents and 68 veterans (after the recent cuts) to go along with their 10 draft picks.

I was going to try to analyze a little of the draft picks in this blog entry but am running out of time, so on to the next sunrise I am afraid.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Estimated Depth Chart - Post Draft - Version 1a


The first version of the Post Draft Estimated Depth Chart is now up https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1OlRHXJglel-wOPOwe---knyCUyMk1tSlDp0Z2nkC3jQ/edit#gid=689940466 The perma-link is on the menu to the right ------>

You will see all 10 draft picks are estimated as making the roster. That's on purpose. The front office for the Lions drafted all these guys expecting (or at least seriously hoping) that they would make the final roster, so for now there is no reason not to include them as if they had. Future versions may move them around though. I also included some undrafted guys, partially because pre-draft I estimated they would pick up a WR and a TE (but didn't) and partially because I think these 4 candidates just might be good enough to actually make the roster (more on this later).

Now before you discount WR Jay Lee just remember (or if you haven't already, read the blog entry below this one) that a WR who meets certain standards has a much better chance then others at not only making it on a roster but excelling too. Jay Lee is about 0.04 seconds in the 40 yard dash over the mark (but he meets all the others; 3 cone, hand size, and weight) his real issue isn't his measurables, it's his drops. The reason for the drops? He body catches just about everything. The Lions coaches need to work on getting his hand strength up (weight room work) and then coach him on making the catches with his hands, not with his body. If they can develop that habit in him he will take the deep WR spot on the roster I do believe.
http://twitter.com/MathBomb/status/726812070814093313/photo/1

TE Cole Wick is a little too slow for a pass catching TE on a starting roster, but, he does have explosion (vertical and long jump). He's also in need of a weight room, he only benched 14 times and that needs to get up over 20. If he puts in the work, and if Pettigrew ends up on IR (due to his injury from last year which takes awhile to come back from) then Wick just might make the final roster.

G/T Andrew Zeller fits the suit... of both positions. There is zero reason why (via measurables) that he couldn't play guard or tackle in the NFL, he's better then many of the current players on the OL (in measurables). If he can be coached up he very well should snag a roster spot... which could actually lead to a starting roster spot in time (or due to injury). I love this signing by the way.

Finally there's CB Ian Wells. I really think he can beat out his competitors on the team for the final CB spot. Unless Quinn brings in more competition that is, perhaps even then.

The Lions cut two players today, so they are about to sign 2 more guys. Who or at which positions I do not know, could be vets, could be some more undrafted guys. But they made room for someone, two someones actually. If it were me, they would both be DEs. The Lions only have 4 on the entire roster.

By the way, I put the 1st round draft pick as the starting right tackle, but I wonder if he'll end up at left... perhaps this year, perhaps next year, perhaps never. That will likely be my next blog post. And I may have to revisit that more then once before September.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The day after that; cue the undrafted free agents.


2016 Undrafted Free Agents

Every year it happens, right after the draft it is reported the Detroit Lions signed this or that undrafted player and later we learn that not all of them were in fact signed. This year some had the Lions at 11, some at 12 (yesterday and last night), but the real number, as of this afternoon, is 10.

The Lions also signed veteran linebacker Zaviar Gooden today. He's a former team captain of the Missouri Tigers and the Titans drafted him in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He suffered an injury last year and was put on IR, then released with an injury settlement. Normally when a team signs a player immediately after the draft that means that someone or more then one player they had hoped to draft was taken... in this case I'm not quite sure if that is what happened or not, as the info here is quite intriguing in it's own right. http://www.prideofdetroit.com/2016/5/2/11567882/lions-sign-former-titans-linebacker-zaviar-gooden I'm glad the Lions have brought him in regardless, if he can stay healthy this could get interesting.

In that article you will see a chart called #RAS (or Relative Athletic Score). The creator of RAS is on twitter (I follow him) and he recently was brought in to work with PrideOfDetroit (a good hire if you ask me). I will be talking more on the RAS scores of players in upcoming blog entries (as well as this one) so to familiarize yourself with it here is a great article to read, perhaps even study, since it shows the RAS for all 10 of the Lions draft picks. http://www.prideofdetroit.com/2016/5/2/11553774/2016-detroit-lions-draft-class-athleticism-relative-athletic-scores The RAS is not the be all end all of talent eval, but it does help compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

Now if I didn't accidentally send all my readers off to another website instead of finishing here, let's see who the Lions signed after the draft. With the signing of LB Gooden today (see above) that brings the number of veterans on the team to 70 even. Add to that the 10 draft picks and you're at 80. The limit with draft picks included is 90, so 10 undrafted players can be signed by the Lions without cutting anyone. According to nfl.com those 10 players are:

CB Adairius Barnes
WR Quinshad Davis
OT Chase Farris
TE Adam Fuehne
WR Jay Lee
DL James DeLoach
CB Charles Washington
CB Ian Wells
TE Cole Wick
OL Andrew Zeller

Teams have a maximum amount they can use as signing bonuses for undrafted players. $92,000 is what the Lions had to work with. So far I know the following amounts are a part of the contracts for those above:

WR Quinshad Davis got $3,000
TE Cole Wick got $10,000
OT Chase Farris got $10,000, plus $10,000 of his rookie minimum wage deal is guaranteed (yes, that's allowed)

There is more, I just don't know what at this point in time. I also found some RAS scores for these guys, OL Chase Farris was below average but OL Andrew Zeller is (pardon the pun) stellar!

TE Cole Wick is above average (again, this is all measurables, not film study or that kind of thing) while TE Adam Fuehne is below average

All 3 of the cornerbacks are above average (with Wells really up there):
and

WR Jay Lee is above average and WR Quinshad Davis is below

Finally there is one DL player from the UDFA ranks, who is also above average

But RAS does not mean a player will be good or will be bad. It's just measurements. However, unbeknownst to Kent Lee Platte a guy over at Rotoviz named Kevin Cole (premium site) did some work on measurements to see if he could determine which ones matter to what positions. I won't go into the two page explanation of his findings, but to summarize a couple, a Running Back with a Broad Jump of 124" or more (10' 4") and who's 40 yard dash time is under 4.5 AND who is 5' 10" tall or taller has a 78% chance of being successful in the NFL. Pretty good odds. Other positions had some things to look for to improve their odds of making it, none were as telling as running back though. Wide Receivers for example; a 3 cone under 7.0 with a 40 of under 4.5 and hands over 9" who weight 208 pounds or more have some better odds then others, and if they manage to weigh 218 pounds or more with the same numbers even better odds. Tight ends need a 40 time under 4.7 and a score of 20 or more at bench, plus a vertical of 34" or more and a broad jump of 110 inches (9'2") to improve their odds of success. You'll have to visit www.rotoviz.com and sign up for more Kevin Cole information on his regression tree analysis and all his dynasty fantasy football stuff I'm afraid.

What does all this mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe a lot. It means I want to research further these undrafted guys... I will say that those with a positive RAS scores intrigue me already, and once I get the rest of the info on them they may intrigue me even more. TE Cole Wick is a hard one to get info on, being a super small school prospect, but this article is interesting http://www.expressnews.com/sports/college_sports/local_colleges/article/NFL-eyeing-UIW-tight-end-Wick-6476148.php?t=5bf6515ff1&cmpid=fb-premium (not sure yet if he's a poor mans Gronkowski or not, probably not due to his speed but we'll see how fast he plays) and I'm thinking that Guard Andrew Zeller will make the final roster for the Lions before camps even start. Why? http://www.testudotimes.com/maryland-terps-football/2016/4/23/11481068/nfl-draft-andrew-zeller-projection-round teases us a little but unfortunately at present I am unable to find the info I read that got me excited about this signing so I can not share it at this time... I'll keep looking.

One side bar; the WR I was hoping the Lions would sign (or draft) was Mitch Mathews but alas it appears he signed with Kansas City. Keep an eye or ear out for him, in a few years we'll see if I'm right about him.

Okay, back to the Lions, I have 10 draft picks and 10 undrafted players to research, double and triple and quadruple check, then find a way to write about them all. Since I already provided a link to the RAS on the 10 picks and posted the RAS of the undrafteds here, I'll have to work on other information and that's going to take some time. I am thinking about researching one per day (over the next 20 days) and then showing how he might fit into the roster (using my estimated depth chart as a visual, once I have it updated that is). That's the plan for now at least, unless something changes it.

I'll leave you with this article on one of the WRs that went undrafted, does it help or hurt that he's a former teammate of Eric Ebron? http://www.goupstate.com/article/20160430/articles/160439987

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The day after...


Facts, Assumptions, Hypotheses, and more.

When those who watch film on draft prospects do so and write up profiles they tend to watch 2 to 4 games or thereabouts and write their material. There is only so much time from the end of the college season, the bowl games, the deadline for declaring for the draft (Juniors) and then the combine and pro days in which to do the write ups... and there are literally hundreds of players to watch film on. It all takes time, a lot of time. Even with just those few games in the mix. This is not something new for me, it is why I usually review more then one source on the players I write about. Unfortunately, at times, the various resources I use watch the same or nearly the same games. What I am trying to say is, the information I have isn't always accurate. The same goes for anyone who doesn't watch EVERY game of a player. Other then college fans and those who employ multiple people to review a smaller group of prospects at a time, this is the same for every one. Most of the sites you readers frequent are the same way. A game or three, and write the profile. Plenty of room for error. Such is the waters in which we tread.

Why am I explaining this? Because my blog entries following each portion of the draft likely provided inaccurate or incomplete information. It wasn't intentional, in fact had I not received so many comments, objections, and so forth I may have never re-visited this at all... but when one is presented with new information it is only prudent to re-examine things with a more open mind... and attempt to determine where things went astray. I have pretty much spent the past 24 hours doing just that. So now you know why I started this entry with the above information.

Rather then present everything in order of the draft, or in the order of my research, time for some scatter shot. The 3rd pick in round 6 was for a long snapper. I vehemently disagreed with this pick. I felt that it was a waste of a pick, that the guy could've been drafted in round 7 or even signed as a free agent after the draft. All of that is likely true... but there is no guarantee that Landes would sign with the Lions as an undrafted, and Quinn had a different plan for round 7 (more on that in a bit). But why a long snapper at all? Because Quinn was trained in the NFL by one source only, the Patriots. How many old Patriots players are there on that team? I looked it up some hours ago; there are a couple at age 30, a couple at age 31, and a couple at age 32... then one 39 year old (Tom Brady). The entire rest of the roster is under 30 years of age. The Lions long snapper is 35. Yeah he can still play, but when has that ever mattered to the Patriots? Answer... it doesn't. They always get rid of players before (not after) they show their age. I thought I was prepared for this, but I was not. Now I am. IF this draft pick works out, Muhlbach is a goner. If it does not, Muhlbach remains and they try again next year. Simple. Ruthless; but simple. Understandable... now. It was not last night immediately following the draft. For future reference, any Lions player approaching 32 years of age is likely subject to an abrupt exit at any moment... ready or not.

Another hypothesis, round 7 of the draft. A little while after realizing the age thing and why the long snapper pick it occurred to me to see what else the Patriots do that might help me understand things a bit more. In reviewing their last pick of the draft it would seem that perhaps the Patriots use that pick for their 'long shot'. Most of the draft is well targeted, relatively safe (character guys, hard workers, fit the suit, etc)... but it would appear to me that round 7 is used to gamble. Take a high risk high reward player and see what happens. I believe, now, that that is what the Lions did with the RB Washington pick. It may very well be this particular players only chance to make an NFL roster, I hope he makes the most of it.

Now back to the film review and profiles. Another player drafted day 3 was a QB named Rudock. His profiles (that I read) are not, shall we say, glowing. However, I am given to understand that he finished a much stronger QB then he started, meaning his new coach was bringing him up over the course of the season to be a much better player then when the season began. Therefor, any film reviewed from early in the season is not going to accurately reflect his abilities as they grew to be. That does not alter my concern that his small frame might not be able to take NFL punishment... but then, as I was further told, unless Stafford becomes injured it's unlikely Rudock will see any snaps anyway. On top of that, I proceeded to read other profiles, finding some that were at odds with the originals, and it's also possible that further progress can be made upon his abilities and his muscle mass over the course of this season.

I've begun looking into some of the undrafted players the Lions signed, a couple I am finding very intriguing already. My next blog entry will include info on a guard who's very likely to make the final roster, and a tight end as well. In fact, both of them could very well prove to be every bit as good as picks from the first 2 days, and perhaps, just perhaps, even better. Believe it or not. Still, since undrafted players are not confirmed until the contracts are sent in on Monday I'm going to hold off on that information. Plus reports have it that 12 guys are signed, but there was only room on the roster for 11. So something is off there.

After the undrafted report I shall dig deeper into the 10 players from the actual draft and attempt to include a wider range of information in the hopes of presenting a more accurate picture. Not just for my readers, but for myself as well. Who knows, perhaps even more insights will be forthcoming over the next few days.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

2016 Draft - Day 3 - Detroit Lions Rounds 4 through 7


4. S Miles Killebrew; 5a. G/T Joe Dahl; 5b. OLB Antwione Williams; 6a. QB Jake Rudock; 6b. DE/DT Anthony Zettel; 6c. LS Jimmy Landes; 7. RB Dwayne Washington

On Day 3 of the 2016 NFL Draft the Detroit Lions made zero moves, in fact there was not one Lions trade of any kind in the whole draft, and trades were something that most fans were expecting a lot of. So the Lions sat and picked right where they were at, and in the 4th round at pick 111 they drafted Miles Killebrew, a 6'2" 217 pound Safety from Southern Utah that I had ranked 97th. Whatever contact the Lions had with Killebrew were kept secret as he was not on our list of known contacts, so this pick surprised me (us) a little... but not in a bad way. After all, the Lions needed a Safety, he wasn't picked too early and in fact might be considered a bottom 3rd rounder by some. He's tall, has good weight, and that was what we knew before looking deeper. His NFL profile http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/miles-killebrew?id=2555315 says this about him "Violent player who looks to punish and intimidate with the force of his strikes, but who won't compromise his form as a tackler just for the highlight reel hit. Killebrew is average in coverage, but has the size and physicality that makes him stand out in the box." and even if I read nothing else about him that would be enough. I'm excited to see what he can do once he settles into his job with the Lions.

Round 5 comes along and in my opinion there is still a lot of talent available. At pick 151 the Lions draft Guard (and sometimes tackle) Joe Dahl of Washington State, a 6'4" 304 pound offensive lineman. He will be battling Darren Keyton, Braxton Cave, Gabe Ikard, and Travis Swanson (along with their 3rd round pick C Glasgow) for a combination of starting center, backup center, and backup guard. As he could play some tackle in a pinch I think he'll have an upper hand at the backup guard position right from the start. His NFL profile http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/joe-dahl?id=2555136 pulls no punches on his weaknesses and fully credits him for his positives. A year in the NFL environment will likely do him a world of good, so much that he could start challenging for a starting job if anyone struggles, or due to injury.

The Lions second pick of round 5 is at 169 and the Lions draft OLB Antwione Williams from Georgia Southern with the pick. He's 6'3" and 247 pounds and I had him ranked 259th, or as a late 7th rounder. That doesn't mean anything much though, teams regularly have players at this point in the draft ranked one, two and even three rounds different then others, even other teams. Now I really REALLY wanted the Lions to draft RB Darious Jackson here and was screaming for them to do so for the next several picks, but instead Dallas went ahead and drafted him later. Williams will be battling Brandon Copeland and Jerry Franklin for a roster spot. Luckily he should be on special teams like Copeland so the Lions won't lose out there whichever one makes the final roster. The NFL profile on him http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/antwione-williams?id=2556114 says "Williams' tackle production in 2015 looks great on the resume, but what will intrigue teams is his size and length. While he fills up a stat sheet, there is still plenty of meat that Williams leaves on the bone. The good news is that some of his issues aren't related to physical limitations and he has the tools to improve. Worthy of a third day pick and could fight for a backup spot in 2016. " Maybe he makes the team, but I can name at least 5 guys I would have rather drafted here. We'll see if this choice was worthy.

The Lions have 3 picks in the 6th round and the first player taken at 191 was QB Jake Rudock of U of M. At 6'3" and 207 he's a bit light for a Quarterback. In fact many kickers, punters, and Safeties are bigger then this guy. His NFL profile http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/jake-rudock?id=2556232 kindly states his improvement over the past couple of years and that he's a 7th rounder or undrafted pickup. I got to say, I hate this pick. If the Lions wanted a decent backup QB they should've gone with Woodrum, at least he can throw the ball 56mph... and anyone under 55mph has never made it in the NFL to my knowledge.

At 202 the Lions spent their 2nd pick in round 6 on DE Anthony Zettle of Penn State. At 6'4" and 277 pounds he appears to fit the suit, and I had him ranked at 159 so to me he was a bit of a steal. His profile http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/anthony-zettel?id=2555268 says he's undersized for a DT, and he is, if he was a DT. It also says his arms are too short to play DE. That may be, but that doesn't mean he can't play DE, and play it well, properly trained. He's not going to take Ansah's job away, but he should rotate in with Taylor and give the Lions some depth on the left side of the dline. He's relentless, and that to me means he will work extra hard to earn his spot on the team. For a 6th round pick, I like that.

At 210, the comp pick for losing Nick Fairley, the Lions inexplicably drafted a long snapper, Jimmy Landes from Baylor. They already have the best long snapper in the league in Muhlbach on the team, and his one year vet minimum deal costs the cap only a small amount more then a rookie contract costs, so I see zero benefit in wasting a pick in the 6th round on a long snapper. I absolutely positively HATE this pick. It's down right stupid. Idiotic. Amateurish. I won't say any more about it.

For the Lions final pick in round 7 at pick 236 the Lions drafted Dwayne Washington a Running Back from Washington (no the City is not named after him). I had him ranked almost exactly the same as the long snapper. At 6'2" and 226 pounds he sounds immediately like a guy who isn't going to take any punishment at all. His profile http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/dwayne-washington?id=2556118 tells us about his problem fumbling, but since it doesn't show his hand size we don't know if it's a physical thing (small hands equals fumbles, guaranteed) or a focus issue. He was never going to be drafted by another team imo and should not have been by the Lions either. There was talent available, DT Zimmer, TE Sandland, QB Woodrum, and many others, but the pick was, well, maybe not wasted (or maybe so) but definitely not used to it's fullest potential.

In the end I loved the 1st days' pick. I understood you can't turn down the 2nd round pick that fell and the 3rd round pick is not the center I wanted nor do I like his profile but perhaps he can be turned into something good. I loved the 4th round pick and the first 5th round pick. I also liked the second 6th round pick. I totally disliked the 2nd 5th round pick, the first 6th round pick, the third 6th round pick, and the 7th round pick. That's a 5 - 5 split for me... not the grade I was looking for. If the undrafted signings don't turn this around for me I'm going to go into the rest of this off season feeling very let down... and concerned... for this GM is likely to be here for at least 2 more years. But, before I go all doom and gloom on everyone, I will first check out the undrafted signings tomorrow and then wait the long wait for OTA's, mini and summer camp to progress to the end and see where things are then. One thing for sure, no kool-aid and no rose colored glasses... color me unimpressed.

Day 2 - 2016 NFL Draft - Detroit Lions


DT A'Shawn Robinson & C/G Graham Glasgow

On day 2 of the 2016 NFL Draft the Detroit Lions elected to select DT A'Shawn Robinson at pick 46 in the 2nd round. I had him ranked 26th overall and a 1st round pick, as I am sure many other draftniks did (1st round, not so much at 26 overall). I am also going to go out on a limb and assume the Lions also did not expect him to fall to them in the 2nd round. This might have altered their draft plan a little, but you just can't pass on a top 15 or top 20 first round pick when they fall to you in the mid 2nd round. So here he is and the Lions used up nearly all their time on the clock before making the selection. Now the question is, what did they get?

We'll check first with the official NFL site and his draft profile at http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/ashawn-robinson?id=2555265 and here we see that he needs to work on some things yet could probably come in rotation during run plays right away because "Has boom in his punch and dislodges guards and centers if they try and wait on him. Pure power to toss a one-­on-­one block aside. Athletic enough to give reasonable chase to the ball. Well-schooled in using length to stuff cut blocks. Has frame and length to eat blocks and allow linebackers to run free. Heavy tackler. Running backs do not break his tackles and he rarely fails to finish when he's locked in on his target." The pick I wanted for the Lions was still on the board and went to the Chicago Bears at pick 72, so we fans and the Lions team will have to deal with him twice a year for the next 4 years (DE Jonathan Bullard) but at the same time, it's not every year you get a chance at a mid-first round pick in the second round... so I can't fault the Lions for altering their strategy (if they in fact did) and make this choice.

Huddle Report has this to say about A'Shawn http://www.thehuddlereport.com/archive/2016profiles/AShawn.Robinson.htm A’Shawn is a powerful athletic defensive tackle with the athleticism to play in any style of defense and in any style of defensive front. He is as big as a Winnebago and his ability to play in a 2-gap system and stuff the run is what he will bring with him for the team that selects him. A’Shawn has just enough foot speed and change of direction skills to create havoc when he splits a double team and gets into the backfield. He has improved dramatically this year from game to game in his hand usage, which has helped him to become better stuffing the run and getting into the backfield on passing plays to allow teammates to make sacks.

CBS has many things on him as well http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/2082728/ashawn-robinson including "Big-boned frame with proportionate thickness throughout. Powerful core and limbs to control the point of attack and stack-and-shed. Smooth athleticism with the lateral range to mirror and scrape down the line of scrimmage in pursuit. Hip flexibility and body control to work tight spaces. Shows the ability to lock out, press the hole and make stops in the gap. Plays with shock in his hands to work through the trash. Can sink and drive his lower body to create separation from blocks or push the pocket. Strong ball awareness and backfield vision to recognize things quickly. Uses his big hands and long arms to knock the ball down at the line of scrimmage. Drawing constant double-teams and keep blockers busy." So while he will get snaps even in his freshman year in the bigs, he's going to be learning how to be an NFL pro at the same time, and probably helping Ansah take some of the double team heat off during obvious run plays... until he grows into the replacement for Ngata (which is where I think this is going). Many if not most have him at a first round grade, and almost nobody I know expected him to fall to the middle of the 2nd round. This was a surprise gift, if you ask me, and not one to be gifted back.

In the 3rd round the Lions find themselves at the end of round 3 with a lot of talent falling to them, including my favorite for them S Justin Simmons who was selected by the Denver Broncos at pick 98 (3 later). Here it is pick 95 and the Lions elect to go with Michigan center Graham Glasgow (despite taking Swanson in the 3rd last year, well, Mayhew did not Quinn, so there's that). I was looking for the Lions to take one of two centers in round 4, both are already gone in round 3 at picks 66 and 79. Since the Lions choose a center instead of a safety in round 3 let's take a look at this pick.

At first glance, he is not at all what I would expect the Lions to draft http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/graham-glasgow?id=2555182 From his off field issues to his needed improvements, he just doesn't strike me as the right choice at this pick. As a guard and center backup perhaps, but as an immediate replacement for Swanson, perhaps not. Let's just say he is going to need to mature quick and also produce fast in order to steal the starting job. "Three-year starter who relies on power over athleticism to win his reps. Glasgow's strength at the point of attack will appeal to power running teams, but his inconsistent connection percentage on second level blocks may worry some teams. Glasgow needs to improve his hands, but he has enough upside to be a quality backup at two positions or maybe an eventual starter." As you can see, he's basically the opposite of the finesse center that is Swanson.

The Huddle Report (film) has a lot of the same on Glasgow. http://www.thehuddlereport.com/archive/2016profiles/Graham.Glasgow.htm "I’m not sure why Graham is a better run blocker than pass blocker. The truth is offensive linemen who are tall (6’6”) usually have a problem bending and getting into their opponent at the correct pad level to really be effective blocking for the run and are usually much better pass blocking because of that height. Go figure -- Graham is just the opposite. Nevertheless Graham is a good pass blocker and with better techniques should become an excellent pass blocker so I think selecting him early in this draft makes a lot of sense. He can play the all important center position and also play Left Guard and with his size might be able to play tackle in a pinch." and then there is the CBS profile at http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1868371/graham-glasgow "Glasgow is a prospect on the rise after enjoying a strong senior season and earning a Senior Bowl invite following a strong showing during Shrine Game practices.

It has been an impressive turnaround for Glasgow. He entered the 2015 season needing to prove himself to coaches after a spring suspension for violating the terms of his probation from a guilty plea to driving while impaired the previous year. At the time, he was working at center following Jack Miller's decision to leave the program. Glasgow returned from that suspension to earn the starting job a center.

The former walk-on left Michigan with 37 career starts and offers versatility. During all-star games he saw time a center and guard, where he started in 2014 after seeing nine starts at center and four at left guard as a sophomore."
This is not a player I would have drafted. Quinn and the Lions did, so we shall see if they made the right choice. I personally will be forever comparing Glasgow's career to Safety Justin Simmons now of the Broncos. Hopefully I will get to admit my error in years to come.

The Lions have now tempered my enthusiasm from day 1. While I was impressed with day 1 the unexpected drop of Robinson to them in day 2 seems to have reeked havoc with the draft plan... perhaps I am off base on this... it just doesn't seem like the other teams have behaved the way that was expected and this caused whatever plans were prepared to be scrapped. Now it's entirely possible things are going to script and the profiles I am reading and posting aren't accurate at all. This wouldn't be the first time that has happened. Yet I just get this feeling that things aren't quite going as planned, and that a new plan is being forced out on the fly due to circumstances, not that it can be controlled anyway, just that things aren't going anywhere near as predicted.

Let's just say I am not as aglow as I was after day 1, and am now forced to cross my fingers instead of feeling confident that all is well. One thing I can declare though, the Lions are definitely NOT ignoring the trenches, since all 3 picks so far are trench picks (OT, DT, C/G). It just remains to be seen how this all works out from here.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

2016 NFL Draft - Round 1 - Detroit Lions


OT Taylor Decker

In my forum, late at night on the 24th or April, I did my Lions mock for this year http://badnetrat.proboards.com/thread/9487/lions-draft-mock-today instead of posting it here. It's a little late but I shall paste that post now:

1st round:
OT Taylor Decker Ohio State; alternates include: Ronnie Stanley Notre Dame and Jack Conklin MSU

2nd round:
DE Jonathan Bullard Florida; alternates include: Emmanuel Ogbah Oklahoma State, Shilique Calhoun Michigan State, or a S Karl Joseph West Virginia

3rd round:
S Jalen Mills LSU; alternates include: Justin Simmons Boston College, or a DE Matt Judon Grand Valley State

4th round:
C Max Tuerk Southern California; alternates include: DT Hassan Ridgeway Texas, among many many others.

5th and 6th rounds:
RB Darius Jackson Eastern Michigan and DT Justin Zimmer Ferris State among others.

7th round:
QB Josh Woodrum Liberty among others.

Some undrafted guys:
Ben McCord TE Central Michigan
Nick Beamish C Central Michigan
Sharrod Neasman SS Florida Atlantic
Alex Huettel OG Bowling Green
Perez Ford OLB Northern Illinois
Lars Hanson OT Sacramento State
Brett McMakin OLB Northern Iowa
Mike Rose DE NC State
Chris Mayes DT Georgia (or there are 4 other DTs I like as well)
Johnny Holton WR Cincinnati
Blake Frohnapfel QB Massachusetts
Frankie Williams CB Purdue
Mike Jordan CB Missouri Western State
Jay Lee WR Baylor
Ryker Mathews OT Brigham Young

and I still haven't had the time to research as much as I usually do. I did get my big board done, with 1191 names on it. Unfortunately, I didn't get to review nearly as many as I would normally do and it don't look good for the next 3 days either.

Still, needed something in writing to show against the actual happenings from later this week.


And, as you can see, I got round 1 right on the nose for the Lions after all. I had also, in other threads, added a WR in Mitch Mathews to the undrafted list and a center to the 4th round in Isaac Seumalo... in fact I put Isaac Seumalo ahead of Max Tuerk and the others above, making him the pick I truly hope the Lions make.

If the Lions can somehow add DE Bullard or DE Ogbah in the 2nd; S Jalen Mills or S Justin Simmons in the 3rd, then snag C Isaac Seumalo or C Max Tuerk in the 4th along with the rest of my guys listed above I would be one of the happiest draftniks on the planet.

What tomorrow (and the next day) brings remains to be seen, but for tonight we have to get familiar with our new (probable) Right Tackle; Taylor Decker. First off, he's from Ohio State, but let's not hold that against him. he's 6'7" tall (tall) and weights in at 310 pounds (also big). I have him at 14 on my big board and since he was drafted at 16 he is neither a reach nor a sleeper. A former scout for the Bears (of 30 years) had him 12th on his board. There should be no issues with anyone saying he was taken too soon, or that he dropped, or any other derogatory remark in that regard. So without any further ado, some links and comments about offensive tackle Taylor Decker.

http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/taylor-decker?id=2555206 "Tough guy who scouts believe has the locker room presence and field demeanor to be an instant leader along an offensive line."

http://thehuddlereport.com/archive/2016profiles/Taylor.Decker.htm "His natural leadership skills and his football intelligence are outstanding. His ability to understand blocking assignments like an offensive line coach is more mature than most players coming out of college and these strong attributes will help to make him an outstanding lineman for the team that selects him. He has solid athletic talent and uses good techniques"

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1983776/taylor-decker "Decker started the last 42 games for the Buckeyes, splitting time between left and right tackle, and was part of a senior class that won 50 games at Ohio State. He had a rough debut against Buffalo's Khalil Mack (Oakland Raider top-five pick in the 2014 NFL Draft) in his first career start, but has been an ascending talent since, learning from past mistakes and developing his skill-set.

He has reliable character, a can-do attitude and pro-ready make-up that fits NFL locker rooms. Decker can struggle at times with speed off the edge, especially flexible rushers who can bend underneath him, but he has the frame, balance and forceful hands to neutralize quickness and control the point of attack. "


Okay, so he's big, strong, smart, a leader, is coach-able, healthy, and has no off field issues... in other words, a potential permanent fixture on the OLine and quite possibly will become the best player on the Lions offensive line before his 2nd year. Not sure what you were expecting for the 16th pick in round 1, but for me, I'll take this upgrade to the line any time. Sure, if you read the cons in the links above you will see he has things to work on, which college kid doesn't, but do they all know they actually do have to work on it? This kid does, and he will.

Day 1 of the Lions 2016 draft is in the books, and I am glad I got to see it happen. The upcoming two days could really make things interesting, should it go anywhere near as I suspect it will. Even if it's not the players I envision at this point in time, I have a feeling I'll be happy with the results. Before today I wouldn't have said that, by the way, I was leery as to what Quinn was all about. But, he did not panic and move up like some teams did. He did not snag a guy who dropped because he was suddenly a "good value" yet had warts. He held his ground and got a very solid football player that will in fact help the team win games. Bodes well for the next couple of days if you ask me. Here's to a great start!