2017 NFL Draft Grade: Detroit Lions Day 3 Picks
The Detroit Lions had six picks on Day 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft after a solid start, but how did they finish up?
The Detroit Lions are officially off the clock. The Lions closed out the 2017 NFL draft with a bang. With only four rounds left, the Lions had six picks: two in the fourth round and two in the sixth round.
After heavily focusing on the offense during free agency, it made sense for the Lions to enter the draft ready to tackle their defense problems while still patching some holes on the offense.
The defense was immediately addressed with their 21st overall pick on Thursday night when they drafted linebacker Jarrad Davis. This process continued through round two when cornerback Teez Tabor was selected. Before the night was over, they added wide receiver Kenny Golladay to their roster, after trading up with the New England Patriots.
Some analysts suggest rounds 4-7 aren’t the most exciting, but with six picks left, the Lions made some impressive moves. Here’s a breakdown of the Lions round 4-7 2017 NFL draft picks.
Round 4: Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB – Tennessee
Doubling up on linebackers after taking Jarrad Davis in the first round, they selected Jalen Reeves-Maybin out of Tennessee. The linebacker likely would’ve been a Day 2 pick if not for injuries in his final season in Knoxville.
The greatest asset that Reeves-Maybin brings to the table is his versatility. He has the athletic ability and instincts to be effective in coverage, can use those same instincts to come up and defend the run, and has the ability to blitz from the outside linebacker spot as well. He’s a player that they can move around in different roles situationally.
Obviously the injuries are a concern when it comes to his overall outlook, but the Lions likely looked into that or they wouldn’t have been willing to use this pick on him. Subsequently, he’s a nice add for the defense that needs his versatility and overall talent.
Round 4: Michael Roberts, TE – Toledo
Michael Roberts is my pick of the day. It has been speculated that Bob Quinn follows in the footsteps of the New England Patriots. What better way to do that than draft a tight end and use a 2-TE sets. This is also what Eric Ebron needed, and it should help reduce some workload once he’s NFL-ready.
Roberts is a talented tight end. He has great eye contact and hand coordination. A little over 35 percent of his receptions were touchdowns while more than 80 percent landed at least a first down. He’s quick and in control of his body.
He’s also an experienced blocker, although this is where he lacks a few abilities. His timing is off and it effects blocking plays. He shouldn’t need too much time to prepare and could be Matthew Stafford’s target in no time.
Round 5: Jamal Agnew, CB – San Diego
Cornerback Jamal Agnew was the hidden gem of the draft. Many analysts thought he would go undrafted due to his lack of size; he’s too tiny to play outside. He also needs to relax under pressure, as he sometimes offers opposing receivers an easy release. However, his speed, endurance and athleticism outshine his size.
For a man his size, he’s not afraid to make a play on the ball. He had 11 interceptions while he played in San Diego. He offers run and block support and will do anything in his power to get downfield. Agnew is also an effective punt returner.
The Lions saw the spark that Agnew offers a team. With his versatility on the field, he could find himself having many opportunities to shine this season.
Round 6: Jeremiah Ledbetter, DE – Arkansas
Jeremiah Ledbetter is a decent draft pick. Although he doesn’t compare to top defensive end draftees, he shows possibilities of being great. He has great hip mobility, which allows him to get low. Ledbetter also has quick arms and good eye contact.
Ledbetter will need a lot of work. He needs to become more flexible as a pass rusher. He doesn’t utilize his hands to his advantage. He needs more speed up field and needs to plant his body for better balance. Ledbetter is also going to need to bulk up if he wants to compete with the big boys.
Round 6: Brad Kaaya, QB – Miami (FL)
The Lions are obviously comfortable with Matthew Stafford, and as he enters a contract negotiation, the Lions drafted Brad Kaaya. This is a great move by the Lions; Kaaya will be able to learn a lot from Stafford.
Kaaya’s very smart; he understands the path of a ball downfield with decent accuracy. He has clean movements in the pocket with developed pump movements to confuse defenders. He has the fourth most passing yards in ACC history.
He can be molded into a productive quarterback. He needs to work on making quicker decisions; he buckles under pressure. Most of his downfalls come with his nervousness and hesitation. If he can work on that and his overall speed, he can become a great NFL quarterback.
Round 7: Pat O’Connor, DE – Eastern Michigan
Pat O’Connor isn’t quite Mr. Irrelevant, but he comes close. Prior to selecting O’Connor, the Lions had already drafted defensive end, Ledbetter. Ledbetter looks to be the better option of the two, but you never know what will happen during the season.
O’Connor had several high school and college honors for his athletic performance. In 2016, O’Connor totaled 42 tackles with 14.5 for loss. He also has 8.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. Although he will probably won’t fit the depth chart right away, his college statistics prove he could become a critical component of the defensive line.