Due to a tornado ravaging through my town, I was unable to post the Lions picks in each round as I do every year. Now that we are back online from the storm, I wanted to provide a summary of the 2016 Detroit Lions rookie draft class. The draft was very uninspiring for the casual Lions fan. For the hardcore fan, the draft was excellent. First year general manager Bob Quinn had an idea for what this team needed and he attacked it. The team is far from complete, but Quinn set us up to be in good position for the future.
As I mentioned in Thursday night’s post, the Lions drafted offensive tackle Taylor Decker in the first round. Decker is expected to lock down one of the two tackle spots. It is currently unknown where he will play, but he can play either left or right tackle. Either way, the tackle position is fixed for now.
In the second round, Detroit got defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson. Robinson was one of my favorite tackles and my preference for their first round pick should they miss out on an offensive tackle. Robinson is a high character guy who does very good at stopping the run. His pass rush needs some work, but he is the defensive tackle the Lions desperately needed last season.
In the third round, Quinn selected center Graham Glassgow. Watching him play at Michigan, especially against Jonathan Bullard in the bowl game, he looked like a stud center. Whether he will start right away or just be their future starter over Travis Swanson is unknown. What is known is that they drafted him high enough to expect him to challenge for the starting spot.
In the fourth round, Detroit went defense again, selecting strong safety Miles Killebrew. Killebrew struggles in coverage but is a hard hitting “in the box” type of safety. He is very similar to James Ihedigbo, but much younger. If he develops as planned, he will likely be the Lions eventual starting safety.
In the fifth round, Detroit went back to the offensive line, drafting guard Joe Dahl. Dahl is a talented run blocker who played both tackle and guard. He is projected as a guard in the NFL but his blocking is so good that scouts wonder if maybe he could still play tackle in the NFL. His diversity is a big plus for a team that lacked talent on the offensive line last season.
With their second fifth round pick, Detroit selected outside linebacker Antwione Williams. Williams is a bigger outside linebacker who likely will be used as depth and special teams work while the Lions get his position ironed out. They needed a backup on the outside where Kyle Van Noy and Josh Bynes currently play, especially since no one knows yes if Van Noy will progress enough to be counted on.
Detroit had three picks in the sixth round. With their first one, they selected quarterback Jake Rudock. Rudock started off poorly at Michigan but improved each week under Jim Harbaugh to the point where he looked very good against Florida in their bowl game victory. He will likely only be a backup at best, but some fans will point to him being a 6th round pick from Michigan and compare him to Tom Brady, who was also a 6th round pick quarterback from Michigan that was not very good in college. I do not expect the same here as Rudock’s ceiling is likely as a solid backup.
With their second sixth round pick, the Lions selected defensive lineman Anthony Zettel. Zettel was a defensive tackle in college but his size indicates he will be a rotational defensive end with the Lions. Some beat writers speculate that he will fill the Jason Jones role where he can play tackle and end for the Lions.
With their third sixth round pick, the Detroit Lions drafted long snapper Jimmy Landes. Yep I said long snapper. It was an odd move at first, but when you really think about it, he gets to learn from Don Muhlbach, and if he is not ready, he goes to the practice squad to learn for the year and take over next season. If he does beat out Muhlbach, he is only on a 1 year deal and likely would retire given his age.
With their final pick of the draft, the Detroit Lions took running back Dwayne Washington. Washington was a special teams player in college which is likely why Quinn took him. He is a larger back but has decent speed. The expectations from him as a player are very low, but given the Lions lack of a running game lately, he might actually earn a spot with a strong pre-season like Zach Zenner did last season.