Third Round: Travis Swanson, Center
Swanson is big, 6’5 312 lbs and the heir apparent to Dominic Raiola. He played in the toughest conference in college football in the SEC and never missed a game with 50 career starts. He’s athletic, he has a high football I.Q., but he could stand to bulk up a little. Considering Swanson likely won’t play for another season this was a solid pick and with a season in an NFL weight room he should be ready to go when Raiola steps down.
Grade: I like Swanson a lot and I like that the issue of who would succeed Raiola is answered, but the fact of the matter is the Lions really needed another body to compete for playing time in the secondary. By waiting to address the secondary in the bottom of the fourth round the Lions missed on a ton of secondary players. That drops this grade down. C
Fourth Round: Nevin Lawson, Cornerback
Lawson is small at 5’9, but extremely physical and a good cover corner. He should be in the mix on special teams, but he’s facing an up hill battle for playing time at cornerback against Jonte Green and Chris Greenwood.
Grade: As I mentioned before, by waiting to address the secondary until the compensatory picks in the fourth round the Lions missed out on a lot of corners. I doubt Nevin was one of the Lions’ top targets and although anything can happen I don’t think he can beat out Greenwood or Jonte Green for playing time at corner. D+
Fourth Round: Larry Webster, Defensive End
For as much as I questioned drafting Lawson, I absolutely loved the pick of Webster. In the fourth round team’s start to look for developmental players that could play a little in year one. Webster is the ultimate developmental player, because of his huge upside. Webster tested second to only Jadeveon Clowney at defensive end with a 4.58 forty and a 36.5 inch vertical at 6’6. He’s got long arms at 33.5 inches and could be the next diamond in the rough to surface in the later rounds. Webster was highly productive in college with 13.5 sacks last season in lower level college football. Very raw, but has a chance to be very good. Needs to add some bulk.
Grade: This pick reminds me a lot of Chris Greenwood, who the Lions took in the fifth round in 2011. Greenwood showed a lot of promise towards the end of last season. In two seasons we could be talking about Webster the same way. B+