Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Shoring up the Middle – Defensive Tackle
Defensive tackle is fourth on the Detroit Lions draft needs? As crazy as it sounds to some, the national perception of the team is picking up on this cue pretty quickly. Though Malcom Brown continues to receive first round praise, we’ve seen less and less experts mocking defensive tackles to the team. At one point, SIX different defensive tackles were mocked to the Lions at 23rd overall, which should raise a red flag as to just how weak this defensive tackle class is at the top (Outside of Leonard Williams).
I’ve dropped every defensive tackle outside of Williams and Danny Shelton (Who is a nose tackle) to the 2nd round or below. Oft mocked Malcom Brown and Carl Davis? 3rd rounders for me, who might be good in rotation but definitely not starters. Jordan Phillips? Has long-term potential, but not 1st round in a 4-3. Michael Bennett? Great interior rusher, but limited in his usefulness and not a true interior DT in a 4-3, kind of like Jason Jones. With so few options looking appealing, where can the Lions turn?
The team’s second round pick is where I’d address this need. Xavier Cooper from Washington State has all the measurables to be an upper tier interior defensive lineman and is considered one of the highest character players in this class (which we all know Jim Caldwell likes). Carl Davis, though I have him lower, wouldn’t be much of a reach for me with the Lions 2nd round pick.
Grady Jarrett is another name that really fits the Lions. This is a position that has plenty of depth in this draft, but the players at the top will likely all be drafted higher than they would in any other draft and that terrifies me if the Lions take one in the 1st.
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