Detroit Lions Draft: Offense in the 1st?

Mar 1, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn speaks to the media during the 2017 NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn speaks to the media during the 2017 NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

Bob Quinn, let me start out by saying please, for the love of God, take defense early and often in this year’s NFL draft. In the first off-season under Quinn he made only one splash free agency signing, and that was Marvin Jones (number one WR available). He also used two out of their first three picks on offensive linemen, each of whom started for most of the season and Taylor Decker even made the All-Rookie team. And so far this off-season the trend is close to the same, signing two big-time free agents to the offensive line (Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang).

I applaud you, Mr. Quinn! You gave the best quarterback in the history of the Detroit Lions the best offensive line he has ever had. This will give him more time, which will allow him to use his big arm and push the ball down the field. Hell, this line will also help the other weapons that the Lions have on offense to look better too. Bigger lanes in the running game and more time in the passing game. Matt Stafford and Jim Caldwell are pumped.

So, with everything the Lions have done to fix the offensive side of the ball, it’s time to go all out on the defense. And while I still believe in that philosophy to a degree, there are a few offensive players that I would love for the Lions to take at 21.

Offensive Players You Have to Take:

O.J. Howard:

I don’t know if I’m the only one who thinks this but all the people who want the Lions to take David Njoku at 21 should be checked into a mental hospital. He is an Eric Ebron 2.0. Yes, he may have some better measurables than Ebron but they are essentially the same player. Bob Quinn is trying to build for the future but he isn’t going to make a pick that fills a need that Detroit has already filled. But if O.J. Howard is on the board I think you have to take him, Bobby.

So how can I be so against the Lions drafting Njoku and be so down for then to draft Howard? It’s simple, Howard is the complete package. He’s the best blocking tight end in the draft and probably the most athletic. The kid blew up at the combine tying for second best among tight ends in both the 40 yard dash and in bench press as well. He also had the best times for the 3 cone drill and both the 20 and 60 yard shuttles. While Howard didn’t have some of the offensive numbers that some of the other tight ends have (45 catches for 600 yard and 3 TD’s), he did exactly what Nick Saban asked him to do with a great attitude and great leadership, and is expected to flourish in an expanded role in the NFL.

Quinn knows what having two tight ends can do for a teams offense but even in New England the have never had the same types of tight ends. Howard has everything you need to not only complement Ebron but also would take the Lions to the next level in both the running and passing game. Ebron’s new role on the team would be to be this year’s Anquan Boldin, leaving Howard to be their enforcer in the run game (Wells as well) and help Detroit’s offense to move the chains in the passing game.

P.S. O.J. Howard also has experience at playing the fullback spot which could make Micheal Burton a trade asset.

Leonard Fournette:

OK yes, if Christian McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook is sitting there at the 21st pick, then you have to think about taking them. We already have 2 players that are similar to McCaffrey, in Abdullah and Riddick, that would make me shy away from him. Yes, McCaffrey is already better than both of them but come on, there are just too many needs that the Lions have to take a player that is essentially the same type of player that they already have (same thought process as Njoku). Cook is also similar to Abdullah in that he is a dynamic runner, he can also help in the passing game, but he also has some risks. Dalvin has had a few run-ins with the law and also has a lingering shoulder issue, not worth a first-round pick on when Detroit could bolster their front 7. But Fournette is a beast, and if he lasts long enough for the Lions to take then you’ve got to take him.

Fournette is exactly the type of running back the Detroit Lions need. Like I mentioned earlier Detroit has plenty of shifty running backs that are capable of catching the ball out of the backfield. But they don’t have a power back. Zenner has done a good job for being a undrafted free agent but he doesn’t offer any of the upside that Leonard does. He is a 240 pound stud that has a bit of wiggle and a whole lot of power, punishing anyone who tries to tackle him. Fournette is also more athletic than people give him credit for (4.51 forty yard dash) and many believe that he is capable of catching balls out of the backfield even though he hardly did at LSU. Having a player that rushed for almost 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in his three years at LSU would be incredible.

He would immediately be the Lions’ bell cow allowing Abdullah and Riddick to do what they are good at. This pick would help Detroit’s defense (being able to control the ball) and help them in the red zone as well. This is an automatic pick if he is available at 21, but please do not take a different running back in the 1st round Bobby.

Mike Williams:

In my opinion, the wide receiver is the most needed position the Lions have going into the draft on the offensive side of the ball (3rd most overall). There are three potential first-round picks at wide receiver. There’s the fastest guy in NFL combine history, John Ross (injury concerns). The most productive guy in the last 4 seasons in Corey Davis (over 5,000 career receiving yards and 52 TDs). But the only guy I want for the Lions to take in the first round is Mike Williams. Go ahead and take Corey Davis if you honestly feel like he’s the number one receiver, Mr. Quinn. But since he didn’t compete play against elite competition in college and didn’t compete in the combine, I wouldn’t take this guy (you know more than me Quinn) ahead of Williams.

Mike Williams is 6 ft. 4, 220 pound monster that the Lions haven’t had since Megatron retired. While he isn’t the burner that Calvin was, he does have the same ability to go up and grab the ball in traffic. Which is something that Detroit desperately needs to help take their offense to the next level. You might be saying, “but why would we take a wide receiver in the first round when the Lions already have two good receivers (Golden Tate and Marvin Jones)? Those guys are solid but neither of them are threats in the red zone. Tate and Jones last year combined for only 8 receiving TDs (Jones didn’t have one past week 6). Mike Williams had 11 receiving TD’s by himself last season, so having him would add another dimension to the Lions’ offense. So if he is available at 21, Detroit needs to take him.

Take a second to imagine the Lions offense with Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, Eric Ebron, and Mike Williams all catching the ball from Matt Stafford. Those 4 play-makers to go along with Abdullah and Riddick out of the backfield and a new and improved offensive line, would be absolutely deadly.

Why Those Three?

Bobby listen to me one more time, please take defense with your 1st-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft. BUT… if the Detroit Lions can get a player that takes their offense from good to great, you have to take him. While there are a few intriguing players that some people may want the Lions to take with their first-round pick (Cook, McCaffrey, Ross, or Davis). I believe that there are only three players in this draft, O.J. Howard, Leonard Fournette, and Mike Williams, that can take help make the Lions offense elite. Defense wins championships but offense wins games. With one of these three players on the Lions offense next season, they will win a lot of games.

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Next: Detroit Lions World: Draft Day Edition