The Detroit Lions need to focus their draft strategy on fixing the defense. The best possible outcome in the first round is to find another linebacker.
Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn knows the importance of the draft when it comes to building a winning organization. Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia must be aware of how devoid of talent the defensive side of the ball has become, especially after last year’s 6 and 10 debacle. It is time to fix it.
Monday on NFL.com, analyst Elliot Harrison explored one burning question for each NFC team as they enter this year’s draft – including, of course, the Detroit Lions.
Harrison had a pretty good understanding of what Detroit is looking for in this draft:
"“What can be said now is that GM Bob Quinn should strongly consider using two of his first three picks on defense. A corner has to be part of that mix, either coupled with a pass rusher or another area where the Lions are thin, linebacker.”"
Linebacker is such a desperate need for this team. One guy that would be a great fit is LSU linebacker Devin White, but only if he falls to the Lions when they pick at eight. Of course, the Lions might miss out, as he is likely to go earlier.
A lot of mock drafts have Devin White going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at pick five. This is yet another demonstration of why meaningless wins at the end of last season doom this team to miss out on possible impact players.
It’s not all doom and gloom. Devin at pick eight is still a possibility, mostly because the two quarterbacks – Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins – have risen up the draft board. This elevation of the quarterback position pushes defensive talent down to the Lions pick. Also, each of these quarterbacks could help in the Lions rebuild, but they are much less likely than White to be available at pick eight.
Last month, Sean Baligian of the X’s and Bro’s radio show (broadcast on AM 1130 in the Detroit area) interviewed columnist Mike O’Hara of Detroit Lions.com. O’Hara summed up White’s best talent quite succinctly (03-15-19, “Hour 3”):
"“He is an absolute tackling machine for LSU. And I think if you put him and Jarrad Davis on the field together – sideline to sideline, gap to gap, tackle to tackle. If I’m a running back, I’m not so sure I want to break into the clear, okay? At your own risk go for an extra yard.”"
Finding someone to pair with linebacker Jarrad Davis is going to be a big key for this defense. Not only is the team in dire need of more impact players at linebacker, but it will also improve the play of Davis, who is desperate need of a talented counterpart on the field.
Having both of these guys out there could really wreak havoc on an offense. The Detroit Lions linebacker corps would have a ton of speed, and the unit would become a strength for the defense, instead of a weakness.
Linebacker is by far the worst position on this team. Reaching for a linebacker would not be smart, especially considering the roster’s other holes and depth issues – most of which are on defense. But if White is there, the Detroit Lions cannot pass on him, cannot be willing to trade down – they just have to take him.