Saturday, April 30, 2016

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 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 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 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 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. "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 "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.

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