I was the first person that was against losing out to get the number one pick, but hindsight is 20-20, right? If the Lions would have tanked, like I wanted, they would have had a chance to change the Lions luck for years to come.
The Los Angeles Rams moved up to the number 1 overall pick, but they gave up the number 15, the 43rd and 45th (middle of the second round), and the 76th overall pick all in the 2016 NFL Draft. The Rams also gave up their first and third round pick in the 2017 draft as well.
If Detroit would have lost out they would have the number 1 or 2 pick in each round for the entire draft. Could you imagine what kind of players the Detroit Lions could have drafted to help bolster this team for the future? If Detroit would have made this move they would have been contenders for years and years to come.
“But Blake if the Lions would have tanked then that means that Matthew Stafford wouldn’t have balled out in the second half of the season?” and that is very true. Matthew Stafford is the main reason the Detroit Lions finished the season 6-2, he is the reason why Jim Caldwell is still in D-town, and he is the reason why there is hopes again for the playoffs next season. For my argument though I’m going to assume the Lions finished with the worst record and Matt Stafford still finished the season with his best statistical year (besides 2011) of his career. So if the Lions are set on QB and have the number one pick they could have taken left tackle Laremy Tunsil, which would have solidified their line for years to come. If they would have made that trade with the LA Rams, the Lions could have been a scary team for the next 5-10 seasons.
If you are a NFL nerd like me and you are counting down the NFL draft like its Christmas then you should definitely check out Fanspeak’s on the Clock NFL Draft Simulator, it’s a program that allows you to act as the manager for a NFL team and make the draft picks for your team of choice. It is a very cool program that I do daily in all of my classes (shhh don’t tell my professors). I usually just pick the Lions and work through their draft but yesterday in class and I heard about the Rams trading away almost their whole draft to move up to the number one pick and I was thinking to myself, “wow this could be my Lions right now.”
I restarted the Draft Simulator and I picked the Titans, but I made the picks as if I was picking them for the Lions and this is what I got. (I only did the draft through the first three rounds)
1st Round: Pick #15
Shaq Lawson: Everyone knows that the Lions have holes on their team but their two most important holes they need to fill are on both of their lines, offensive tackle and defensive end, and the Lions got one hell of a pass rusher to help out Ziggy. There were a couple of tackles of the board (Jack Conklin and Jason Springs) at #15 but I’m taking a play out of the Denver Broncos book and bolstering the Lions pass rush with arguably the best pass rusher in this draft. Lawson may be a little undersized at 6 ft 3 inches and 270 pounds but he is lightning fast (4.70 second 40 yard dash) and he has the production in college to translate to the NFL (25.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks in the 2015 season). If the Lions had Ziggy on one side and Lawson on the other I would start crying myself to sleep if I was Aaron Rogers.
2nd Round: Picks #33, #43, and #45
Taylor Decker: This simulator doesn’t always show what most experts expect to happen but neither does the actual NFL draft, so with the second pick in the second round with Taylor Decker still on the board I bet the whole Lions Draft war room would be ecstatic to snag this 6 ft. 7 monster to solidify the offensive line. Taylor Decker was a three-year starter for the Ohio State Buckeyes and was the leader of the offense for those years so if the Lions want a stud run blocker, who’s a leader, and who has the ceiling to one day slide over to the left tackle then Taylor Decker is your man.
Hunter Henry: With this pick there are players like Robert Nkemdiche, Corey Coleman, and Josh Doctson on the board but if you have the opportunity to take the number one tight end of the class in the middle of the second round then you do it. Tight end isn’t a need right now for the Lions but this move would allow Eric Ebron to move out into the slot and let Hunter Henry do the dirty work inside and one day hopefully he can turn into a security blanket for Stafford like Jason Witten. (I am a little bias though because I’ve already written about the Lions taking Henry in the second round: Detroit Lions Draft: Hunter Henry in the 2nd round?)
Josh Doctson: I originally wanted to get at least 2 defensive players out of the three picks in the second round but with these three picks the Lions offense will thrive and completely forget about Megatron. Josh Doctson is a baller. He balled out at the NFL combine (4.5 second 40 yard dash, 41 inch vertical, and 131 inch broad jump) and he balled out in his final year at TCU (79 catches for 1,337 yards and 14 scores) and he would have won the Biletnikoff Award (nations receiver of the year). Matching Doctson up with Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, the new Hunter Henry, and with a better offensive line (Taylor Decker) the Lions offense would flourish without Calvin Johnson.
3rd Round: Picks #64 and #76
Kyler Fackrell: This kid may be my favorite player in the drat. I’m not saying he is the best or is going to be the best but every single thing that I’ve read about Kyler Fackrell I love. Kyler Fackrell is a 6 ft. 5 inch outside linebacker that can rush the hell out of the opposing teams QB. Fackrell averaged 84 tackles, over 4 sacks, and 12 tackles for losses in his 3 season of playing at Utah State and he also forced 8 turnovers in his 3 season for the Aggie’s. Maybe he doesn’t pan out but if he does, and our defensive pass rush consists of Ziggy, Lawson, and Fackrell rushing opposing quarterbacks watch out NFL.
Sean Davis: Depth and versatility are two of the main things that Bob Quinn emphasizes and Mr. Davis would give the Lions secondary both of these things. Sean Davis played both safety and outside corner back for the Maryland Terrapins and, while he was successful at both, safety would be the place where Davis could make the most impact. This may be a little stretch at this pick but safety is a big need on this team and Davis would fill that need. He could also fill in as depth at corner back.
So what do you say Lions fans–do you wish we would have tanked? Or are you happy with the way that things turned out, finishing the season 6-2? Make sure you comment below and let me know.