Detroit Lions Draft History

Detroit Lions NFL Draft history

The Detroit Lions have grown all too familiar with picking in the top half of the NFL Draft. Fans often find themselves rooting for more losses by Thanksgiving to acquire a higher draft choice. The hope has always been to find that player who is a generational talent to “Restore the Roar” in the Motor City.

Since General Manager Bob Quinn took control in 2016, the Lions have had success with both of his NFL Draft weekends. Quinn has made a couple of things quite clear in his first two drafts. One, the Lions will take a quarterback in every draft class. Quinn has cited the importance of a serviceable backup as well as potential future trade bait at the QB position. Second, Detroit now values the best player available on their board over team needs.

2016 NFL Draft

Two football seasons after the 2016 NFL Draft, let us take a look at who the Lions chose and where they stand with the team moving forward.

Taylor Decker during pre-game warm ups prior to 38-24 win vs. the Cleveland Browns. Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press

(16) 1st Round – OT, Taylor Decker, Ohio State

(46) 2nd Round – DT, A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama

(95) 3rd Round – C, Graham Glasgow, Michigan

(111) 4th Round – S, Miles Killebrew, Southern Utah

(151) 5th Round – G, Joe Dahl, Washington State

(169) 5th Round – LB, Antwoine Williams, Georgia Southern

(191) 6th Round – QB, Jake Rudock, Michigan

(202) 6th Round  – DE, Anthony Zettel, Penn State

(210) 6th Round – LS, Jimmy Landes, Baylor

(236) 7th Round –  RB, Dwayne Washington, Washington

Each of the first four selections are impact players heading into the 2018 season. Out of the ten players selected in the 2016 draft, Williams and Landes are the only two not on the current roster. Drafted in the sixth round, Anthony Zettel has proven to be one of the steals of the draft. Meanwhile, Joe Dahl, figures to be in the thick of the competition for a starting spot in the upcoming season.

2017 NFL Draft

In 2017, the Lions had what appeared to be another great draft. It is too early to tell whether the players will continue to perform or have a setback in their second year. However, here are the selections from the 2017 NFL Draft.

Detroit Lions linebackers

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

1st Round (21) – LB, Jarrad Davis, Florida

2nd Round (53) – CB, Teez Tabor, Florida

3rd Round (96) – WR, Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois

4th Round (124) – LB, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Tennessee

4th Round (127) – TE, Michael Roberts, Toledo

5th Round (165) – CB, Jamal Agnew, San Diego

6th Round (205) – DT, Jeremiah Ledbetter, Arkansas

6th Round (215) – QB, Brad Kaaya, Miami

7th Round (250) – DE, Pat O’Connor, Eastern Michigan

Top 5 picks in Lions History

5.) Matthew Stafford – 2009 NFL Draft – Round 1

Fifth, Stafford has to be on this list as he is the greatest quarterback in team history. The only thing left to do is win in the playoffs. If he can put together some division titles and playoff wins, or God willing, a Super Bowl victory, he will vault up this list and challenge for the top spot.

4.) Robert Porcher – 1992 NFL Draft – Round 1

Detroit Lions Draft History

Robert Porcher Photo: Julian H. Gonzalez, Detroit Free Press

Fourth, Porcher spent 12 seasons in the Honolulu Blue. He was a cornerstone leader for the Lions throughout the 90s. He finished his career with 95.5 sacks, the all-time Lions sack leader.  His durability made him one of the most dependable players in Lions history as well. He played in 187 total games, only missing five games throughout his entire career.

 

3.) Charlie Sanders – 1968 NFL Draft – Round 3

Third, Sanders is a Hall of Fame tight end and is one of the best to play for the Lions. The Lions drafted him in the third round and he spent his whole 10-year career in Detroit. Charlie made seven Pro Bowls and named to the 1970s All-Decade Team by the NFL. When he finally decided to hang it up, he brought in 336 catches, 4,817 yards, and 31 touchdowns.

2.) Joe Schmidt – 1953 NFL Draft – Round 7

Second, Schmidt is not a household name among casual fans, however; he has not been lost in Detroit Lions history. The Lions selected him in the seventh round out of Pittsburgh in 1953. Also, Joe Schmidt went on to coach the Lions, although he was a much better player than coach. Most notably, he helped Detroit to two NFL Championships in 1953 and 1957. In 1960, Schmidt was the unanimous NFL MVP. The Sporting News ranked Schmidt at number 65 in their 1999 list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

1.) Barry Sanders – 1989 NFL Draft – Round 1

Finally, was there any doubt as to who would hold this top spot? Barry Sanders is arguably the greatest running back in the history of the NFL. Barry played for ten seasons and made the Pro Bowl in every single season. He sits as the third leading rusher in NFL history with 15,269 yards in only 10 seasons (1,527 yards per season average). Meanwhile, Emmitt Smith – first place – had 18,355 yards over 14 seasons (1,311 yards per season). In second place, Walter Payton played 13 seasons and had 16,726 yards (1,287 yards per season). If Barry had not retired while still in his prime and continued on his pace, he would be the unequivocal all-time rushing leader. Even with only 3 more seasons played, Barry would have added 4,581 yards to his total, putting him at 19,850 yards. An entire article could be dedicated to Barry Sanders. One thing is for sure, he brought fans to their feet like no one before or since. Thanks for the memories Barry.

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Detroit Lions defensive backs

Detroit Lions Defensive Backs Breakdown 2018

Less than two weeks away from the 2018 NFL Draft, let’s look at the Detroit Lions’ defensive backs. This has been a position of need for the Lions as long as most fans can remember. It has routinely been a topic of discussion in nearly every offseason. The great Lions defensive backs date back to the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Dick “Night Train” Lane, Dick LeBeau, Yale Lary, Jack Christiansen and Lem Barney live in Lions history as all-time greats.

Detroit Lions defensive backs

Lem Barney runs after an interception. (Photo from National Football League)

Barney immediately made an impact and laid the foundation for his legacy in his rookie season. In the first quarter of his first game, he intercepted a pass from Bart Starr (quarterback of the hated Packers), which he ran back for a touchdown. He finished his rookie season with 10 interceptions, three in the final game against the Minnesota Vikings. Barney won Defensive Rookie of the Year and made his first Pro Bowl. In 1992, the Pro Football Hall of Fame added him to their collection of busts. Furthermore, in 2004, he had his No. 20 retired to honor fellow Lion greats, Barry Sanders and Billy Sims. The No. 20 in Honolulu blue could quite possibly be the greatest number to be shared by all-time legends in their sport.

With a solid group of players returning and free agent signee DeShawn Shead from Seattle, the Lions secondary does not appear to be a great position of need. There are some unanswered questions however, with the largest being if Teez Tabor can develop into a viable corner opposite Darius “Big Play” Slay.

coaching

Once again, a new face graces the coaching staff. This time at the defensive back position.

Brian Stewart is the new man in charge of quite possibly the best position room on the Lions defense. Stewart comes to Detroit from Rice University where he was the defensive coordinator in 2017. Prior to that, from 2015-16 he was the defensive backs coach at Nebraska. He also spent time as the defensive coordinator at the University of Houston (2010-11) and Maryland (2012-14). He even has two years of NFL experience as a defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys from 2007-08.

Stewart has not produced a ton of overwhelming success stories in his coaching career, but he has worked his way to the highest level of coaching defenses. He has plenty of experience coaching defensive backs dating back to 1997 at San Jose State.

notable returning players

Cornerbacks – Darius Slay Jr., Quandre Diggs, Nevin Lawson, Teez Tabor, Jamal Agnew

Detroit Lions defensive backs

Darius Slay (Photo from ESPN)

Darius Slay leads the group of cornerbacks and has become a top-five corner in the league over the past two seasons. His big-play ability has earned him this recognition. The defense appears to play with greater intensity and tenacity in pursuit of the ball when he is on the field. Based on NFL1000 player rankings from the 2017 season, Slay is the third best corner in the NFL with 85/100 for his overall grade.

Quandre Diggs surged onto the scene last season and made a name for himself around the league. His ability to cover from the slot and provide run support make him a great asset to Matt Patricia’s defense. It is like running a 4-3 scheme where one of the linebackers can also cover slot receivers.

Let’s not forget the intensity with which he hits. He may very well be the most underrated player on the defense. In fact, NFL1000 rated him as the third best slot defender in 2017 with an overall grade of 75/100. That is impressive for a guy who was not even on opposing offense’s radar prior to 2017. He easily could win most improved player in the NFL.

Lawson, Tabor and Agnew will all be competing for the spot opposite Slay, and it appears the frontrunners are Lawson and Tabor. Agnew will continue making his impact on special teams with some appearances on defense. He became a great draft steal as he showed great playmaking ability in the return game. Also, expect newcomer DeShawn Shead to be in the mix with Lawson and Tabor.

Safeties – Glover Quin, Tavon Wilson, Miles Killebrew

Detroit Lions defensive backs

Glover Quin celebrates during game against New Orleans. (Photo from detroitlions.com

Glover Quin is one of the best safeties in the game today. His ability to play center field and cover so much ground is his most impressive trait. He plays the position with the attributes of a corner. His speed and agility in coverage, combined with his prowess in making tackles in open space, make him a nightmare for opposing defenses. In the NFL1000 rankings by position, Quin was rated as the fourth best free safety (78/100).

Tavon Wilson and Miles Killebrew make an intriguing tandem of strong safeties. They finished 34th and 35th respectively in NFL1000 strong safety rankings, both scoring 67/100. Wilson is more of a coverage type of safety while Killebrew belongs in the box supporting the run game. This complementary style of football they share allows them to both earn a spot on the roster.

Free Agency

DeShawn Shead comes over from Seattle and is a leading candidate to earn the spot opposite Darius Slay. If he earns the starting spot, his size will help in dealing with some larger receivers as he stands at 6-foot-2 and has the agility to cover. He needs to develop his hand placement and hopefully the Lions are able to help him in this area. If so, he could very well become a great player for years to come in the Motor City. When the Lions find their second corner, they will be a powerful defense and tough to gameplan against.

Shead also brings special teams experience into the mix as he was a captain for the Seahawks. He comes to Detroit with high praise from Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll. Carroll commended Shead’s work ethic and his willingness to do whatever it took to win. According to Carroll, Shead never complained and did all that was asked of him.

Outlook

Defensive back was a strong point for the Lions defense last season. Matt Patricia has some great pieces to play with in his scheme. This group needs to lead by example and help elevate the Lions to new heights. Therefore, Patricia, Paul Pasqualoni and Stewart should look for the leadership of Quin and Slay to continue to drive not only the defense, but the entire team.

 

Featured image from USA Today

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Dallas Cowboys 2017 NFL Draft Profile

The Dallas Cowboys are on the clock for day 26 of Draftmas.

Summary

The Cowboys had a better year than anyone could’ve expected, given that they started a rookie quarterback and running back. Dallas finished 13-3 and were a favorite to go on to the Super Bowl. They ended up losing to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional round of the playoffs.

Dak Prescott (Photo courtesy: wfaa.com)

 

Although Tony Romo has been released from the team, there is a lot of hope in the future of the team with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot and a great offensive line. Left guard Ronald Leary left in free agency, but he only started last season because La’el Collins was injured. The real loss on the offensive line that is going to hurt them is right tackle Doug Free retiring. Chaz Green will get his shot to step up and fill in at that role.

Terrance Williams was brought back to be a solid number two to Dez Bryant, while Cole Beasley holds down the slot. Tight end Jason Witten was given an extension to provide a great security blanket for Prescott.

The defense lost a lot of players that need to be replaced. Barry Church, Morris Claiborne, J.J. Wilcox and Brandon Carr all left in free agency out of the secondary. Young players like Byron Jones and Anthony Brown will need to continue to play well. Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll and Jeff Heath will be expected to elevate their level of play and be leaders in the secondary.

Sean Lee is one of the best linebackers in the game and is joined by Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson in the starting lineup. The Cowboys are excited about the progress of Jaylon Smith, who was drafted in last year’s draft, but had a drop foot injury and nerve damage, so had to sit out last season. If he can get healthy, he would be a great addition to the linebackers.

Defensive line is perennially a problem for Dallas. Randy Gregory getting suspended for one season really exacerbated the problem. Tyrone Crawford and Demarcus Lawrence will hold down the defensive end positions, but the rest of the line could be a turnstile of tackles. The defensive line was able to be the best rush defense in football last season, but that was in large part due to the offense controlling the clock and getting leads, forcing opponents to pass.

 

Picks and Needs

The Cowboys have seven picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. With some solid picks, these players can help Dallas win a Super Bowl in the near future.

First round: (1) No. 28

Second round: (1) No. 60

Third round: (1) No. 92

Fourth round: (1) No. 133

Fifth round: (0)

Sixth round: (1) No. 211

Seventh round: (2) No. 228, No. 246

These needs are in no particular order.

Offensive Needs:

Wide Receiver- Terrance Williams isn’t a great number two receiver, but he is cheap.

Right Tackle- Doug Free retiring creates another need for the Cowboys. Chaz Green will be given a chance to play immediately, but an upgrade may be needed.
Tight End- Jason Witten needs a successor for when he retires, but the Cowboys could use a tight end for sets where they use two.
Defensive Needs:

Defensive Line- Any defensive linemen would be welcomed by Dallas. An edge rusher would be nice to cope with the loss of Gregory, though defensive tackle is the weaker of the positions on the line.

Cornerback- Nolan Carroll was signed, but with the losses of Carr and Claiborne, they need more.

Safety- Jeff Heath played well last season, but he is not a long term solution.

Targets and Thoughts

The picks here are who the Cowboys could realistically get where they are drafting. There will be no trades.

First Round:

Pick #28: Jabrill Peppers, S/LB/CB, Michigan

Jabrill Peppers (Photo courtesy: cbssports.com)

Peppers will likely fill in at strong safety, even though he can play multiple positions. He provides good value at pick number 28. With Byron Jones next to him, the Cowboys could have a great safety pairing for years. The downside to Peppers is that he lacks elite ball skills and he could be a “Tweener” who never finds a real position.

Second Round:

Pick #60: Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE/DT, Villanova

Dallas needs to get some defensive linemen in this draft. Kpassagnon is seen as raw because he comes from the FCS level, but Kpassagnon has the size that the Cowboys will love. They can use him in multiple formations at different positions on the defensive line. He will help cope with the loss of Gregory for the year.

Third Round:

Pick #92: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

Tabor has great tape, but has run terrible 40 times in preparation for the 2017 NFL Draft. The Cowboys need to get some corners in this draft class and could take a risk on Tabor in the third round. If his playing speed is faster than his workout speed, Dallas will get a steal.

 

Conclusion

If the Cowboys can address the defensive side of the ball properly in this draft, they could build a team that is great for years to come.

You can read all of the previous days of Draftmas here!

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Oakland Raiders 2017 Draft Profile

The Game Haus is back with another edition of Draftmas. This is the 22nd edition of Draftmas and it focuses on the Oakland Raiders.

SUMMARY

Courtesy of USATSI

The Oakland Raiders had one of their best seasons since 2002. The 2017 Raiders went 12-4 but their postseason seemed to end for them before they even started. When Derek Carr went down in Week 16, Raider Nation and probably even the players and coaches knew their was no way to go far in the postseason. With Connor Cook behind center, the Raiders lost their first playoff game since 2002. The 2018 Raiders do have a lot of great pieces coming back to the team. Seven Raiders went to the Pro Bowl, a franchise-high since 1991, and the most players for any team in 2017.

PICKS AND NEEDS

The Raiders have eight picks in this draft, with one in each of the first six rounds and in the seventh round they have two picks.

First Round: (1) No. 24

Second Round: (1) No. 56

Third Round: (1) No. 88

Fourth Round: (1) No. 129

Fifth Round: (1) No. 168

Sixth Round: (1) No. 208

Seventh Round: (2) No. 242 and No. 244

Offense:

Running Back: Yes, the Raiders do likely have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield now, but that still doesn’t fill the void in the at the running back position. I could see the Raiders finding a back later in the draft, most likely late Day 2.

Defense:

Middle Linebacker: The Raiders need a rugged and power middle linebacker in that 3-4 scheme. They have Pro Bowler Khalil Mack on the outside, but they need a force up the middle as well.

Conrnerback: In this league, you can never have too many good corners. Oakland could definitely use another good corner to play with Sean Smith and complete their secondary.

Defensive Tackle:  The defensive tackles on this roster are awful, but they could get whole lot better. Defensive tackle is not a major concern, but the Raiders could get some value from this deep pool of defensive tackles in the draft.

TARGETS AND THOUGHTS

These predictions are without trades.

First Round, Pick 24: Jarrad Davis, ILB, Florida

If Jarrad Davis didn’t have some durability issues he could be a Top 15 pick, but most likely he could slip into the late first round to the Oakland Raiders. He shows tremendous Football IQ as he breaks down plays and then attacks. He is very good against the run and his acceleration and closing speed makes him a very good blitzing inside linebacker. Davis also has some pretty fluid hips and can stick with most tight ends and some slot receivers. When you think of middle linebacker dawning the black and sliver, you think of an intimating presence. Davis has that. He wore a neck roll and didn’t wear gloves. That is the pure definition of a nasty Oakland Raider 3-4 inside linebacker.

Second Round, Pick 55: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

Two Florida Gators back to back. Teez Tabor another one of the great cornerbacks Will Muschamp played in The Swamp before his departure. Tabor teases the quarterback into making bad plays and he makes them pay for it. And when you turn on the tape, you see that. He plays with the supreme confidence that every great NFL corner has. He has very good ball skills and will come back down with the ball in his hands more times than the offensive player.

Tabor has the size to play the game and his style of play matches up very well with how the Raiders want to us their corners. He can definitely cover the third of the field and shut down most opposing number one and number two receivers right now in the league. And to be a Raider, you have to have some baggage. It’s how Al Davis would have liked it.

Third Round, Pick 88: Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson

If you need a defensive lineman, one of your first stops is definitely Clemson, S.C. Clemson has produced nine Top 100 defensive linemen since 2007. Last year Watkins led the National Champion Clemson Tigers in sacks from the interior. He is also sneaky athletic and in the 3-4 disguise can help the defense and help Khalil Mack get more chances to get one-on-one matchups.

CONCLUSION

The Raiders were one injury from a very interesting playoff push. If Derek Carr can come back healthy and if they follow this draft profile, they should have a season that could contend with the 2017 season.

You can read all previous Draftmas profiles here.

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Buffalo Bills 2017 NFL Draft Profile

On the 10th day of Draftmas The Game Haus gave to me, a Buffalo Bills Draft Profile!

Summary

Buffalo is an interesting team for many reasons. They went 7-9 last year and ended the year going 1-4 in their last five games. While 6-5 was not a great record it was at least in contention for a Wild Card spot.

They are a team that cannot seem to make that final push. After all of the hope of signing Rex Ryan he was ultimately let go. They have brought in Sean McDermott, one of the many new youth movement coaches as a change of pace. He had done wonders with the Panthers defense and they feel he can only help their stout unit as well.

The Bills surprised everyone by bringing back Tyrod Taylor. He has been a very controversial quarterback for Buffalo. He has been a very mediocre quarterback at best during his time in Buffalo. There are times where he can spark the team and then a drive will stall and he loses his rhythm. If he can play more consistently this Bills team will be much better.

Unfortunately they lost some pieces on offense and could only sign Corey Brown. Even after losing Stephon Gilmore the defensive unit is expected to be tough as ever. A healthy Reggie Ragland should plug the hole left by the most likely departure of possibly last years biggest surprise in Zach Brown.

Lastly their biggest addition this offseason has arguably been Steven Hauschka. A very consistent kicker and probably one of the best in the NFL but, not necessarily someone who signifies the Bills are heading in the right direction.

Picks and Needs

Buffalo has 6 picks in this years draft. Having their first 3 rounds of picks will be crucial for them as they try to get pieces they need to fight for a playoff spot.

First round: (1) No. 10

Second round: (1) No. 44

Third round: (1) No. 75

Fourth round: (0)

Fifth round: (2) No. 156, No. 171

Sixth round: (1) No. 195

Seventh round: (0)

I expect they will be used to try to find players who will get a lot of minutes and their last 3 will be more for depth. Because they were so close last year I expect them to try and get their offense sorted out. Is Tyrod Taylor really the answer at Quarterback? Are they really willing to go with Cardale Jones? Personally I say no to both but, I think Tyrod is their only real option as I am not a huge fan of any of these quarterbacks in the draft.

If they can find players who can give them high minutes in the first 3 rounds then you can expect this to be considered a very successful draft.

Offensive Needs:

Quarterback

Wide Receiver

Right Tackle

Defensive Needs:

Inside Linebacker

Free Safety

Cornerback

Targets and Thoughts

I will pick who I think is best for the team just as I did in my other draft profile. There will be no trades and I will be looking at just the first three rounds.

First Round:

Courtesy of: USA Today

Pick #10: Mike Williams WR, Clemson 

Could this pick be any more perfect? Sammy Watkins leaves Clemson and Williams takes over and does phenomenally. As teammates they could be some of the biggest and most dynamic wideout cores in the league.

Second Round:

Pick #44: Jalen ‘Teez’ Tabor CB, Florida

With Gilmore leaving this is an obvious area of concern for the Bills. He is a little undersized but makes up for it with his athleticism. Teez should be able to hold down the second corner back spot across from Ronald Darby well.

Third Round:

Pick #75: Marcus Williams FS, Utah

Free Safety is an area that could be improved upon. Williams is a play-maker and in a defense that is already solid having that extra ball-hawking safety can make a huge difference. I like Williams to go around here if not earlier.

Conclusion

If Taylor can be the Quarterback the Bills believe in then this team has playoff potential written all over. Adding Williams just gives him another great option next to Watkins. Adding Teez and Williams will solidify a secondary on an already extremely scary defense.

Thank you for joining us on our tenth day of TGH Draftmas! Check back tomorrow where we will be bringing you the Draft Profile of the New Orleans Saints!

You can read all of the previous days of Draftmas below!

Draftmas Day 1: Carolina Panthers

Draftmas Day 2: Cincinnati Bengals

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