Improving the running game and fixing the offensive line was a focus for the Detroit Lions in the draft, and their fifth-round pick is already impressing.
Every NFL rookie goes through some sort of adjustment period when first coming into the league. It’s completely normal, and we’re seeing that period in action here with the Detroit Lions.
Bob Quinn made fixing the offensive line a priority in this year’s NFL draft. He not only used the team’s first-round pick to draft Arkansas center Frank Ragnow but also used a fifth-round pick on Oregon tackle Tyrell Crosby.
Many experts felt that the Lions got a steal when Crosby fell to them on Day 3 of the draft. Despite dealing with a broken foot his junior year, Crosby turned heads when he was 100 percent healthy his senior year, starting every game for Ducks and earning All-Pac-12 first team honors, as well as an invite to the 2018 senior bowl.
Crosby provides the Lions with depth within their offensive line. He’s very unlikely to start this season, but his 6 foot 5, 310-pound frame is NFL ready, and his combination of flexibility, as well as exceptional strength in drive blocking, should earn him a prized second-string spot on the offensive line.
And while this has been a bit of an adjustment period for Crosby, he is impressing the coaches on staff with than a month before the season starts.
Crosby was a bit of a luxury pick for the Lions. The Lions met with him multiple times before the draft and were thrilled when he fell to Motor City in the fifth round. And while it’s taking Crosby a little bit of time to figure out the offense, head coach Matt Patricia has a lot of faith in the former Oregon Duck.
“He was definitely one of those guys that we really liked, we brought him in, we interviewed him, we spent a lot of time with him,” Patricia told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “He’s a very smart guy. He’s big, he’s long, he’s got really long arms and he’s athletic and he just loves the game of football.”
While looking great in training camp is never a bad thing, Crosby had a bit of a roller coaster ride in the Lions first preseason game against the Oakland Raiders.
One could argue that the best part of Friday’s loss to the Raiders was how much better the running game looked. Fellow rookie Kerryon Johnson had an exciting performance, looking electric with his seven carries, including a 57-yard scamper that was called back on a holding penalty.
Unfortunately, that holding penalty was committed by Tyrell Crosby. Despite getting a good initial push, he didn’t make keep his hands inside and the hold was rather obvious.
While that was a rather crucial mistake, it’s a rather easy one to fix and little mistakes like that are part of the growing pains of being a rookie offensive linemen in the NFL.
And we as fans shouldn’t solely focus on that mistake when evaluating Crosby’s performance. Crosby played the most snaps of any offensive player for Detroit and performed well when run blocking. He even helped open up the hole for running back Ameer Abdullah’s touchdown, which ended up being the Lions sole touchdown of the game.
While Crosby wasn’t perfect on Friday night, he showed a lot of promise and can really help improve this Detroit running game. He provides great depth to a unit in need of it, and he has the potential to be one of the starting tackles before this decade is over.