Sunday, April 30, 2017

2017 Draft, Day 3, Rounds 4 through 7

In round 4, at overall pick 124, the Detroit Lions select OLB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, from Tennessee. Jalen is just over 6 feet tall, weighing in at 230 pounds and can run the 40 in 4.68 seconds. His RAS score is 4.03 (below average). The low score is likely due to injury, he was unable to complete over half the tasks needed for a complete RAS score.

Ian Wharton has him ranked 131st, Kyle Crabbs has him ranked 74th, Optimum Scouting at 215th, and Joe Marino at 76th. I had him ranked 162nd. The ranking is all over the place due to both injury, and depending on which games were reviewed. At times he plays like a 1st rounder and at other times a little out of control. He'll be working his way into the weakside linebacker position taking over Deandre Levy's position. This also helps determine where the Lions 1st round pick will play. Originally JD (Jarrad Davis) was projected to play either Middle or Weakside Linebacker. Now we can say somewhat confidently that JD will be tried out at Mike (MLB, aka Middle Linebacker).

As for Jalen his injury was a torn labrum in April of 2016 and biceps subluxation in September of 2016 and then he re-aggravated the labrum injury that ended his season. It also prevented him from doing all the drills needed for a complete RAS score. The Lions training room will get him ready for pre-season. For a 4th round pick the Lions have a pretty decent prospect to work with.

Three picks later in round 4, at overall pick 127, the Detroit Lions select TE Michael Roberts from Toledo. Mike is a little over 6 foot 4 inches tall, weighs in at 270 pounds, runs the 40 in 4.86 (a little slow for a TE), but get this, he has 11 1/2" hands. That's Ginormous!!!

My draft guides have him ranked at 163, 203, 75 and 172. I have him ranked at 223 on my board, mostly due to his RAS score of only 3.82 and his lack of overall speed. Mike isn't a complete TE, he can run routes and get open, but his advantages are his height and his huge hands, making catching the ball a simple matter of being fairly close to the ball. He's a good blocker and a big redzone threat. His blocking improved throughout his senior year so hopefully that continues on in the NFL. He'll be a perfect complement to Eric Ebron, who is more of a route runner and slot WR type. I'm going to look forward to seeing how many TDs Michael Roberts will be getting each year. I think this will be a great scoring weapon for the Lions.

In round 5, at overall pick 165, the Detroit Lions select CB Jamal Agnew of SanDiego. Jamal is about 5 foot 9 and a half inches tall, weighing in at 186 pounds (small for a CB). His RAS score wasn't originally calculated as most didn't have them on their draft board. My draft board ended up having 1027 names on it, and Jamal was 578th on it. Since the draft @MathBomb created his RAS card and it stand at 7.53 which is pretty good. If Jamal was taller and weighed about 15 pounds more he'd be elite. As it is, Jamal is very fast, running a 40 in 4.34 seconds. He's not in any of my draft guides as most guides have fewer then 300 players in them. He'll try out for the punt return job with the Lions and a backup slot cornerback position. The best info on him I found was here

In round 6 the Lions had two picks, at overall pick 205 the Detroit Lions select DT Jeremiah Ledbetter of Arkansas. He played DT and DE in college, but at 280 pounds he's a bit too light for DT and a bit too heavy for DE in the NFL. Still, at DT, his RAS score is an impressive 9.05, and once he gains about 10 pounds of NFL weight (meaning muscle mass) he should develop into a very promising Defensive Tackle for the Lions (I don't project him to DE at all). Jeremiah is a bit over 6 foot 3 inches tall and ran the 40 in 4.84 which is good for a DT (not so much for a DE). Only one of my draft guides had him included, ranked at 247 (I have him at 220). Optimum Scouting says "he redshirted his first year and went on to play two seasons including twenty-four and one half tackles for loss as a sophomore, before transferring to Arkansas. Ledbetter was ranked fifteenth in the JUCO top one hundred as a four-star recruit. At Arkansas, Ledbetter became a starter instantly racking up fifty-five tackles with two sacks. As a senior, he started every game en route to forty-nine tackles, seven and a half tackles for loss, and five and a half sacks to lead the team. He earned an invitation to the East-West Shrine game." A year in the NFL Training room and on an NFL diet will hopefully see him bulk up and learn some DT moves, he'll rotate in more and more as his abilities improve. The on-the-job training will take at least a season or more to complete, but as a project, he's a pretty good one.

The second 6th round pick, at overall pick 215, the Detroit Lions selected QB Brad Kaaya of Miami Florida. Brad is just under 6 foot 4 inches tall and weighs in at a meager 214 pounds. In addition to being a bit skinny, his ball velocity was scored at 53mph. There is a chance with some muscle mass and NFL training room time along with some mechanics improvement he might get that up to the minimum 55mph that I look for in all quarterbacks, but he's got a long road ahead of him. Brad won't be unseating Matthew Stafford, ever, but he does have a chance to win the backup QB job over Rudock, depending on how fast he picks up the play book and how well he takes to the coaching he's about to receive. I had Brad Kaaya ranked 133rd and my draft guides have him at 143, 147, 113, and 136. Some of the best said of him is "Accurate passer on short passes that will translate well to West Coast systems. 3-step drops he consistently showed good timing and some anticipation to get the ball out to his receivers. Takes care of the ball well, boasting a high TD-INT ratio. He’s not the type to cost you games." Some of the worst is "Very limited passer, as he lacks the velocity and timing on intermediate passes. Hesitant to attack tight passing windows on a regular basis. Footwork when setting to throw is all over the place. He must be mechanically sound with his physical profile, but too often he’s randomly set away from his target. Struggles to read defenses and pull the trigger. Needs to see it too often. Horrible when pressured. Simply cannot be a viable starter as-is." So yeah, he's a project QB vying for a backup QB role. Quinn will continue to select QBs every or every other year, but I hope some of his future choices can at least hit 55mph or more, so far his choices to date do not.

The 7th rounder, at overall pick 250, the Detroit Lions selected DE Patrick (Pat) O'Connor from Eastern Michigan. Pat is 6 foot and about 4 and a half inches tall weighing in at 277 pounds and ran a 4.84 40 at his pro day. His RAS score is a respectable 6.73. I had Pat ranked at 392, and of my 4 draft guides only Optimum Scouting had him included, ranked at 262. I've not been able to find a draft pofile on Pat anywhere, but due to being drafted he'll be given opportunities to make the final 53 during training camp. If I were Pat I would listen to my coaches, do everything the training staff says to do, and work my butt off, which I think is exactly what he'll do. Whether it'll be enough is anyone's guess, but even if he ends up getting cut he could easily see the practice squad soon after. With the Lions need at LDE he just may make the cut and start getting relief reps, as long as he can improve his burst and moves to free himself up and still be under control to work the run game. All we know for sure is that Quinn didn't want to risk Pat O'connor going to another team as an undrafted player so he pulled the trigger in the 7th round on him.

It should be noted, that all the draft picks selected were on the Contact List those in my forum create each year (a special thank you to Captain for her help) except for JD, the first round pick. The Lions managed to hide their true interest in JD making me believe he was VERY high on their short list for round 1. He may not have been my choice, but I don't have as much information on him as the Lions do, well, same goes for all the players selected though.

The Lions had room on their roster for a number of undrafted players as well. Less the 9 draft picks and the 69 signed players they had room for 12 by my count. Unfortunately you can never be sure if the names associated with a team are accurate until some time later, but here are the potential list of candidates associated with the Lions (as compiled by Tedd from my forum):

Storm Norton, OT, Toledo
Maurice Swain, DT, Auburn
Noel Thomas, WR, UConn
Alex Barrett, DE, San Diego State
Leo Koloamatangi, OL, Hawaii
Michael Rector, WR, Stanford
Des Lawrence, DB, North Carolina
Jeremiah Valoaga, DE, UNLV
Robert Tonyan Jr, WR, Indiana State
Brandon Barnes, TE, Alabama State
Tion Green, RB, Cincinnati
Josh Thornton, CB, Southern Utah
Dontez Ford, WR, Pitt
Nick James, DT, Mississippi State

Those in bold were on the Lions contact list I mentioned earlier. That's 14 names, so it's likely some are invitees to a mini-camp and not actually on the roster just yet. Since most are not on the contact list I believe that they were selected purely based on scouts info, if true, it's nice to see Quinn using pure scouting data to give some players a chance to make the team.

The following is the summary of the draft in case you lost track as I'm prone to do:

1 Jarrad Davis ILB Florida
2 Jalen (Teez) Tabor CB Florida
3 Kenneth (Kenny) Golladay WR Northern Illinois
4 Jalen Reeves-Maybin OLB Tennessee
4 Michael Roberts TE Toledo
5 Jamal Agnew CB San Diego
6 Jeremiah Ledbetter DT Arkansas
6 Brad Kaaya QB Miami (Fla.)
7 Patrick (Pat) O'Connor DE Eastern Michigan

More on the 2017 draft and the 2017 roster will be forthcoming. Thank you.

Friday, April 28, 2017

2017 Draft, Round 2, Pick 53 and Round 3, Pick 85

At overall pick 53, the 21st pick of round 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select CB Jalen (Teez) Tabor from Florida.

At just over 6' tall and 199 pounds, Teez Tabor ran a 40 yard dash in 4.62 seconds. Which is horribly slow for a CB in the NFL. Apparently he ran it with ham string issues, so apparently it doesn't count. Teez also has small hands, measuring in at 8 5/8". To compare, I am 6' tall and weigh in at 200 pounds and my hand size is 10 1/4". I might make the 40 in 5 seconds if a very large bear is chasing me and I have a slight head start. Otherwise, Teez wins, easily.

Problem is, Teez won't be defending me in the NFL. The good news is, his film shows he can defend. Some guys practice well and play poorly, others practice (or test) poorly and play well. Playing well is definitely more important. It just makes one nervous if the player can't do both (play and practice/test well).

Teez has a horrible (due in part to the hamstring) RAS score of 2.59, normally I would yell and scream and complain about this draft pick. Nothing looks great about it other then his, hopefully deserved, self confidence, which is sky high. I'll check out some of my draft guides and post a few tidbits here:

Joe Marino's NDT Scouting Draft Guide says: Summary: Teez Tabor is a reliable cover corner with the ability to mirror down the field. His footwork is smooth, fluid, and patient. His hips are fluid and he remains balanced when he transitions. His best traits are his ball skills, as he displays an advanced skill set in terms of locating the football, driving on it, and disrupting passes at the catch point, often resulting in turnovers. Tabor can break on the ball forward, from the trail, and in zone coverage when reading the quarterback's eyes and attacking the catch radius. Tabor needs to improve his tackling technique and be more assertive pursuing the football, but otherwise is an excellent player that's proven to be difficult to throw against.

Optimum Scouting Guide has him ranked 23rd overall. His profile of Tabor is rather glowing, the main issue is concern about staying with a WR on deep routes. A safety over the top will prevent this from being a major issue, but in a division with Rodgers in Green Bay, you have to be a little concerned at the prospect. Still, he's quick, effective, fluid, all the words you want to hear about a CB in the NFL. I'm paraphrasing here, a lot. But that's what I get from reading the guide.

Tabor is a bit of an off field enigma who has supposedly matured a little recently, but he is still a player who entered the draft early and is likely going to be schooled in the NFL, how he handles that will be telling. How he accepts coaching will determine if he can succeed in the NFL. He is a boom or bust type in my opinion, and there's nothing wrong with that, expecially if he booms.

My biggest issue with the Lions selecting my 51st ranked player at 53 is that my 24th ranked player, CB Chidobe Awuzie, was still available (and eventually selected by the Dallas Cowboys with pick 60). It's assumed that Quinn's ranking is better then mine, but it still makes me nervous, at least a little.

At overall pick 85, the 21st pick in the 3rd round in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Lions had their short list emptied just prior to their pick (my assumption, not inside info). They traded down with the Patriots, obtaining a 4th round pick and moving down 11 picks to the final regular pick in the 3rd round for the Patriots, aka, pick 32 in round 3 (just before the comp picks start). The Lions then selected WR Kenneth (Kenny) Golladay from Northern Illinois. Kenny is 6' 4" tall, weighs in at 218 pounds, and runs the 40 in 4.5 seconds. His RAS score is 8.22 (elite) and his measureables remind me of Calvin Johnson. In fact, I once read that a WR who is that size and that fast has a 30% chance of being highly successful in the NFL, and there is no other combination of any measurables that gets a higher percentage. Other combinations are lower odds. Now Kenny is not NFL ready out of the box, his small school status means he needs a year (maybe less) of coaching and practice and film to bring him along, but as long as he puts in the work there is no reason at all he can't excel in the NFL. He fits the suit.

Due to being small school, Kenny wasn't in the draft guides, therefor I won't be pasting any synapses from those sources. In fact, I hope to find and post more on this pick later. Despite that, it is entirely possible in the years to come that this pick might end up my most favorite pick of the NFL 2017 Draft.

Look for the Lions to address DE, TE and some other positions tomorrow in day 3 of the draft. I'm looking forward to it myself, obviously.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 Draft, Round 1, Lions at pick 21 select.....

Round 1 of the 2017 Draft.

The Detroits Lions remained at pick 21 despite upwards of 4 teams trying to trade up to their spot and selected LB Jarrad Davis.

Jarrad Davis did not make our "contact list" we compile every year mainly because he wasn't singled out (that we know of) during his pro day or at any other time. and yet over the past week or so his stock rose up to where Quinn seemed to think it should have been to start with. In my top 100 board this year I had him ranked at 32, or as a first round pick, I just didn't put enough into thinking he would be a good option for the Lions at pick 21. Others did, the day of the draft, which was a little bit late for me to jump on board, unfortunately. So I was a bit surprised by the pick. I wasn't the only one I would guess, unless they read this this morning

So, now that I know the pick I get to play catch up. So let's see, Gil Brandt, a former front office guy, had Jarrad Davis ranked 20th overall on his top 150 board. This was April 17th. (scroll down to number 20)

Joe Marino's NDT Scouting report I purchased around April 10th has Jarrad Davis ranked 22 overall.

Kyle Crabb's NDT Scouting report I purchased around April 2nd has Jarrad Davis ranked 56th overall.

Optimum Scouting's report I purchased April 1st has Jarrad Davis ranked 74th overall.

Finally, there was a top 200 board I printed out early March that had Jarrad Davis 90th overall (name not printed).

So, the further back you go the lower the rank... mainly due to everyone overlooking him but revising their boards and finally getting him into round 1 by draft day. It's hard to believe these late risers are really all that some times, but as often as not it's more a case of the writers learning more later and correcting their own board rather then a player actually rising.

You can click on the links above to read those reports, but the only other report that was close to having Davis as a first round pick was Joe Marino's, and that's a pay site, so I'll just post a few tidbits that he wrote here. He scored a 90.04 which is a first round value pick. If I say "sideline to sideline" and "motor always runs hot" that should get you your pros, and "there are times his aggressive demeanor gets the best of him" should get you your cons. With some development Davis could easily become an impact player with the upside to become an enforcer and a field general... more paraphrasing of his words.

Had I read this profile before the draft I would've easily seen how Jarrad would likely be the Lions pick. It explains why none of the trade offers were accepted, and why word got around who the Lions wanted just days (or more like hours) before the draft. I wonder if perhaps Davis wasn't one of the top names on the Lions short list of 1st round picks they wanted. The Lions hid their interest well right up until just before the draft, but it's always hard to totally hide a smart, talented, driven, team leading player from everyone. That he lasted until pick 21 is a minor miracle, but then so was OT Decker last year. Quinn once again impresses.

Some other info I just saw.... Injuries: 2014-Missed last 3 games with torn meniscus. 2015-Suffered a concussion in the bowl game. 2016-Missed 3 games with a sprained ankle. Off-Field: Clean Accolades: 2015-2nd Team All-SEC. 2016-2nd Team All-SEC, Senior Bowl Invite. Other then at times being a little over zealous in chasing down a tackle, his only issue is keeping healthy, hopefully something the Lions can improve upon (both things actually).

In the end the Lions found a great 1st round pick that eluded my attention until the day of the draft. With some coaching and some training room work he could easily become (if he is not already) the best Linebacker on the Lions team. And with luck, will continue to be for the next 5 years or more. My grade? A. Both for hiding the interest and finding the player.