Pick #8- TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Detroit was not scared away from taking a tight end early in the draft after failing a few years ago with Eric Ebron. This time they got one of the most complete players to come out at the position in years in Hockenson. One of the top offensive players in the entire draft Hockenson should be an asset for the Lions from day one not only as an athletic third receiving option but also as a dominant inline blocker in the run game.
Pick #48- Jahlani Tavai, LB, Hawaii
Tavai flew under the radar for most of the draft process and it was a bit of a surprise to see him go in the second round. That said his athletic upside is what allowed him to get drafted ahead of several more well-known linebackers. While maybe not a day one starter Tavai will likely see substantial playing time for a Lions defense that does not have much in the way of linebackers outside of Jarrad Davis.
Pick # 81- Will Harris, S, Boston College
The Lions moved on from Glover Quinn this offseason and while they have some talented players in Quandre Diggs and Miles Kilerbrew neither of them are proven commodities that would prevent the Lions from trying to upgrade the position. In steps Harris who possesses excellent range and good ball skills and has the potential to surpass both of the Lions projected starting safeties.
Pick #117- Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson
After seeing his three defensive line mates get drafted in the first round Bryant had a to wait until the forth round to hear his name called. While not as talented as his teammates Bryant is a high-character prospect who was productive in college, has some upside despite being a bit stiff and fills a need for some depth at the pass rush position for the Lions.
Pick #146- Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
I never saw the round hype for Oruwariye but the Lions grabbing him on day three could potentially be a massive steal. Oruwariye does not posses great speed but is a very smart, lengthy corner who has the potential to be an eventual starter for Detroit.
Pick #184- Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion
Fulgham is a big fish (6’3” 215) from a small pond (Old Dominion). He has a chance to make the Lion’s roster as their wide Receiver depth is a little shallow. Fulgham could be a good possession option who also excels in the red-zone.
Pick #186- Ty Johnson, RB, Maryland
The need was there for the Lions to add some depth to their backfield behind Kerryon Johnson so adding a late round running back makes a lot of sense. That being said there were better options available than Johnson who never did a whole lot for the Terps.
Pick #224- Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia
At one point Nauta was thought to be a mid-round pick. The former five star high school recruit is a good blocker and it was thought that his production suffered from Georgia’s run first approach, but a horrendous showing at the combine raised serious thoughts about his athleticism. Nauta could still reach his potential and is likely fighting for the third tight end spot on Detroit’s roster.
Pick #229- PJ Johnson, NT, Arizona
PJ Johnson played just one season at the FBS level but has nice size and could potentially fit into Detroit’s future plan on the defensive line as a back up nose tackle. The seventh round is the right place for teams to look for role players so this pick makes a lot of sense for the Lions.
Overall Grade: B
Best Pick: Amani Oruwariye
Biggest Reach: Jahlani Tavai
Best Value: Amani Oruwariye