The 2019 NFL Draft is just over a month away, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Detroit Lions will be the eighth team evaluated.
In Matt Patricia’s first year with the Lions, they had some impressive wins, but finished last in the division with a 6-10 record. With Aaron Rodgers, the Bears and the Vikings in the division, it won’t be easy for the Lions to climb the standing in the NFC North.
The offense struggled for the Lions as they averaged 20.3 points per game, which ranked them tied for 25th in the NFL. They ranked in the bottom half of the league in both passing and rushing yards. Matt Stafford will return under center after throwing for 3,777 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 66.1% completion. Golden Tate and Marvin Jones returned last season, before Tate was traded to the Eagles, but Kenny Golladay led the team with 1,063 yards. Detroit had a nice find in the draft with Kerryon Johnson, who averaged 5.4 yards per carry. Their offensive line had bright spots, but will need to keep Stafford upright for the future. Jesse James has been added at tight end and Danny Amendola was signed at wide receiver, which should help them cope for the loss for Tate.
Detroit’s defense was average, allowing 20.5 points per game, which ranked them tied for 16th in the NFL. The defensive line had some solid players, but Ziggy Ansah was only able to play in seven games with a shoulder injury. A’Shawn Robinson, Damon Harrison and Da’Shawn Hand combined to form a solid unit outside of Ansah. The linebackers didn’t live up to expectations last season. Their secondary featured Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs for a solid unit. Patricia has signed his former defensive end in New England, Trey Flowers, to join the talented defensive line for next season.
2019 NFL Draft Picks
The Lions have nine draft picks to work with in the 2019 NFL Draft.
First round (one pick): No.8
Second round (one pick): No.43
Third round (one pick): No. 88
Fourth round (one pick): No. 111
Fifth round (one pick): No. 146
Sixth round (two picks): No. 184, No. 204
Seventh round (two picks): No. 224, No. 229
Tight End- James was signed, but he isn’t a great target. Stafford will need a better tight end to make the offense dynamic.
Wide Receiver- Amendola was a good signing, but they need more than him, Jones and Golladay for the long term.
Linebacker- None of Detroit’s linebackers stepped up last season and they need a playmaker at the position.
Cornerback- Slay is still a good corner, but they don’t have much outside of him.
Pass Rusher- With Ansah hitting free agency and Romeo Okwara being the leading sacker on the team, they need more players to get after the quarterback.
2019 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 8: Devin White, Linebacker, LSU
White may be off the board, but if the Lions have any chance of drafting him, they need to. He is a strong and fast linebacker that can blitz and cover. His range and versatility make him the best linebacker in the class. The Lions would have an impact player on their defense behind a solid defensive line to try and improve over last season.
Pick No. 43: Julian Love, Cornerback, Notre Dame
Slay needs a good corner to line up on the side opposite of him. If the Lions can improve their linebackers and cornerbacks through the draft, they’ll have to be happy with their selections. Love has great ball skills and should be an upgrade for the Lions.
Pick No. 88: C.J. Conrad, Tight End, Kentucky
Signing James is good, but the Lions should get a young tight end to mold for the future. Conrad had heart issues at the combine, but is all cleared now. He can block and is a decent receiver. He also will provide good value in the middle rounds of the draft.