Revisiting the Detroit Lions’ 2015 NFL Draft three years later

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Quandre Diggs #28 of the Detroit Lions while playing the Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 10: Quandre Diggs #28 of the Detroit Lions while playing the Arizona Cardinals at Ford Field on September 10, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The 2015 Detroit Lions draft: Three players left, two bad trades, and one player worth another contract. The “3-2-1” of how to lose in the NFL.

The Detroit Lions draft was terrible in 2015. This was general manager Martin Mayhew’s final draft, which befit the apprentice of Matt Millen.

For general manager Bob Quinn and new head coach Matt Patricia, this draft plays out as a lesson. For the Lions to win, they must avoid drafts like this.

THE GOOD – Quandre Diggs

Detroit drafted cornerback Quandre Diggs out of Texas in the sixth round with pick number 200 overall. Assessment of Diggs: always been a capable nickel back. Nothing special, but worthy of a roster spot.

That was until this year. Diggs started the last five games at strong safety. In those five games, he had the first sack and first three interceptions of his career.

Final tally: The Detroit Lions have finally filled the hole next to free safety Glover Quin. Bob Quinn should prioritize keeping Diggs beyond 2018. The position switch points to a promising career.

THE BAD – Ameer Abdullah

In round two, the Detroit Lions selected Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah with pick number 54 overall. If Abdullah wasn’t in the final year of his somewhat friendly rookie contract, he probably would not be back this year.

Abdullah cannot play the position effectively, and has been riddled with injuries in three years. Yes, he was available for all of his rookie season, but only produced 597 yards and two touchdowns on less than nine carries a game. Hardly a big load in terms of touches or production.

During his second year, Ameer played in only two games because of a foot injury.

In year three, he missed two games and rushed for 552 yards and four touchdowns on less than 12 carries per game. Similar to year one, in that, it wasn’t good.

Fumbles have also been an issue. One memorable fumble in 2017 was against the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving. The game got out of hand at that point, and the Lions chances at the division went up in smoke.

Final tally: The Detroit Lions issues in the running game extend beyond Abdullah, but he is not someone to keep if they ever plan on fixing it. Three years adds up to one thing: enough Abdullah.

THE UGLY – First Round Trade

In the first round, Detroit traded the number 23 pick to the Denver Broncos. The Broncos selected Missouri linebacker Shane Ray. Ray had a good year in 2016. He played in all 16 games and amassed 48 tackles and eight sacks.

Ray’s 2017 campaign was not as good. He was plagued with injury. Registered only one sack in eight games.

In exchange, the Detroit Lions got the number 27 pick from the Broncos and drafted Duke guard Laken Tomlinson. General manager Bob Quinn traded Tomlinson to the San Francisco 49ers during the 2017 preseason for a fifth round pick in 2019.

Final tally: Detroit got nothing out of the first round of the 2015 Draft. With the possibility of Shane Ray returning to 2016 form, this first round looks even worse for the Lions.

THE UGLIER – Third Round Trade

The Detroit Lions also traded a third round (88) and fifth round (143) pick to the Minnesota Vikings. Detroit moved up to pick number 80 and drafted cornerback Alex Carter. Carter got cut from the Detroit roster at the beginning of 2017.

Meanwhile, at pick number 88, the Vikings took Louisiana State University defensive end Danielle Hunter. In three seasons with the Vikings, Hunter has 134 tackles and 25.5 sacks. How good would Hunter look in a Lions uniform?

Final tally: The Detroit Lions acquired a player no longer on the roster, and provided a star defensive end to their division rival. And they traded up to do it!

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The rest of the 2015 draft has no real impact. Only one other player remains on the Detroit Lions roster: tackle Corey Robinson. Robinson, out of South Carolina,  provides depth on the offensive line, but not much else.

If the Detroit Lions ever win, the draft is key. Bob Quinn needs to make these draft choices count. Detroit cannot have only one good draft pick to show after a three year period.

It is nice that Quandre Diggs is a day three pick that has shown something. However, Diggs should have been a bonus in this draft. The top of the draft needs two or three impact players every year. Let me specify: impact for the Lions, not for the Detroit picks that went to other teams.