Friday, May 1, 2015

2015 NFL Draft - Rounds 2 and 3

The not particularly ideal Lions draft continues on night two with the drafting of running back Ameer Abdullah from Nebraska with the 54th pick and then after trading up (and losing the 5th round pick they got from the 1st round trade) they select corner back (or maybe he's a safety) Alex Carter from Stanford with the 80th pick.

Why am I not entirely happy with the draft so far? Let's take them one round at a time. I had running back Ameer Abdullah ranked 60th on my board so he wasn't a reach per se as far as I am concerned, though NDT Scouting had him ranked as the 124th player on their board and Optimum Scouting had him ranked 77th overall. I had Ameer ranked as the 5th best RB in the draft, whereas NDT had him 13th and Opt S had him 8th. My main issue with the pick is hand size. A prototypical running back has a hand measurement of at least 9" (I prefer 9.5" myself), the reason for this is fumbles during the game and drops in the passing game. The bigger the hand size the better, typically. Some backs do overcome this but most have issues. Ameer's hand size is 8.38". He would not have even been on my draft board, period, regardless of how high I had him "ranked". Now there is plenty to like about him, he was a team captain, he was very productive with the cornhuskers, and he has very good agility, a nice burst (though he's not fast), he's decisive and he plays on special teams. He's only a bit over 5' 8" tall but weighs in at 198 pounds, which is not big unless you happen to be 3" shorter then a proto-typical running back. He will have issues doing blitz pickups, but will be a weapon running from the slot position. He will be able to hide behind the now larger OLine and spit out to the side taking the defenses by surprise. He has great vision and can juke his way around a lot of defenders when in the open. He had a fantastic Senior Bowl and made MVP. He might be your modern day Warrick Dunn if he can get some NFL gym time and good coaching. He may also fumble the ball at the worst possible times or get the QB killed by not picking up a blitz when he has to. This is not exactly the type of player I would target with my 2nd round pick but at least he ranked 4 spots better on my draft board then the Lions first round pick. Oh, and yes, he was on the Lions contact list.

In the third round the Lions were set to draft at pick #88 and a lot of the talent I would've liked them to take with their pick was falling to them... when suddenly they felt the need to trade away that high 5th round draft pick they got in round 1 from the Broncos to move up 8 spots to the 80th pick and select Cornerback Alex Carter who was 71st on my board. NDT had him at 24th (early 2nd round grade) and Optimum Scouting at 100 even (4th round grade). There was a whole lot of talent that was skipped in order to trade up 8 spots for Corner that Opt S and Huddle Report both didn't even bother doing a profile on. NDT did and apparently liked what they saw, the info I get is this: he's 6' tall and 196 pounds (basically my twin in height and weight). His hands measure 9.13" so perhaps interceptions are in his future. In fact, his measurements are what you look for in a corner. He went to Stanford so he's intelligent. He got high scores for measurements, talent, and leadership, but low scores for production. Perhaps he was used wrong. NDT commends him for his press man coverage abilities and though he lacks elite speed figures he can challenge any WR for a defense that employs man coverage (which the Lions do). Some question he may be a safety in the NFL but the Lions plan to use him outside at corner, so Mathis' protege. Was he worth both a 3rd round and a 5th round pick? I'm not quite as sure about that just yet.

I confess, when I started typing this blog I was still upset about the missed opportunities to take players I felt the Lions should have taken instead of who they did. After digging deeper in order to write this though I find that I'm just a little bit curious about what Alex Carter can do at corner in the future. I guess I can thank NDT for helping me sleep tonight. On the other hand Ameer Abdullah has so many pluses and minuses I don't know what to think, if he was a 4th rounder or later I'd be thrilled to have this part time weapon on the team... but I ranked him in the 2nd round, he was taken in the 2nd round, and so I shouldn't be upset... yet I'm still very nervous... I personally would never ever draft a running back with small hands. Ever. The Lions did and now I have to wait and see if he can overcome this product of his DNA. Oh, and Alex was also on the Lions contact list.

According to my board; the Lions have drafted the 64th, 60th and 71st ranked players, in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd rounds respectively. They gained Manny Ramirez for at least a year to either start at center or if needed, guard... or if the youth beats him out he will back up those positions, either way he will mentor the young guys during camp. The Lions gained a 5th round pick in 2016. They had gained a 5th rounder for 2015 as well but then used it up to get Alex Carter. They drafted a guard in round 1, which is something I would never do, but got more then just that from the move... including according to many the best pure guard in the entire draft. They got a very productive, agile, 3rd down back with small hands who is too small to pick up blitzes but can take it to the house if he gets some one-on-one routes going. They got a press man corner to coach up to be the eventual starter. I can't decide if I want to be happy, upset, interested or depressed. I do know this is not how I would have done the draft, but that doesn't mean they are wrong and I would've been right. Guess I need to sleep on it, maybe more then one sleep.

There is one more day to go in this year's draft. They no longer need a guard, or a running back, or a corner. They still could use a defensive tackle, or a right offensive tackle, and a fullback, and a fourth quarterback for camp, plus any other camp bodies they can acquire... so Saturday still holds some intrigue, but if it falls the way the first two nights of the draft have I may still cringe and type while trying to both cry and smile at the same time for a third night writing tomorrow nights blog.

Do I sound unsure? uncertain? dazed perhaps? happily depressed? The only thing that is going to cure me is if the good Mayhew shows up tomorrow instead of the bad Mayhew... if you know what I mean.

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