Detroit Lions: Coin toss between offense or defense in first round

BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 13: T.J. Hockenson #38 of the Iowa Hawkeyes catches a touchdown pass against the Indiana Hossiers at Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2018 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 13: T.J. Hockenson #38 of the Iowa Hawkeyes catches a touchdown pass against the Indiana Hossiers at Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2018 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions 2019 draft class should feature both sides of the ball prominently, but at this point, the top pick could still go either way.

With the 2019 NFL Draft only a week away, the odds of whether the Detroit Lions use their top pick on offense or defense is pretty even.

The top of this class is highlighted with defensive stars, but there are still clearly quality offensive players which could have an immediate impact on the Lions as well. It’s a virtual coin toss as to which way they will go and to be honest, there really isn’t a wrong answer.

The only sure bet seems to be that whoever they select will most likely be plugged in along the line of scrimmage.

That means a defensive lineman, linebacker, offensive lineman or tight end are the clear favorites as to which position the Lions’ top pick will fill. But that is also part of building from the ball out as head coach Matt Patricia has proclaimed he and general manager Bob Quinn will construct the Lions.

And Bob Quinn has made that his calling card as two out of his three first-round picks have been offensive linemen, while the other was a linebacker. Forget the potatoes, it’s all about the meat.

Three is not a big number and it’s uneven as well making it very difficult to use as a barometer to which direction the Lions will go. If we examine their needs it would seem to lean towards the offense, especially given the hole created ay right guard by the retirement of T.J. Lang.

Yet as I pointed out right from the get-go, the best players in this draft are defensive aces that a defensive coach like Matt Patricia would love to employ.

So it would be a tremendous surprise if the Lions did go some direction other than the line of scrimmage. That being said, however, is there some tidbit that could indicate which direction the Lions will go?

The mock drafts have come at us from all directions, but as we hit the home stretch this last week before the draft, all the experts are making their final picks as to which way the Lions and the rest of the league will go with their first-round selections.

Lions fans have seen several players mocked to their beloved team this offseason, but all of those mocks have had the same thing in common; they all fit that bill of playing on the line of scrimmage.

So if we have paid attention, we all kind of know we’re barking up the same tree. It’s just a matter of distinguishing which way Bob Quinn will go.

And despite all the emphasis we as fans put on the first round of the draft, it is the entire collective draft class, along with free agent signings, that will help determine the improvement of the Lions.

Last years draft class was perhaps the most productive in the NFL and a reason for Lions fans to have hope. Repeating that collective success will only make the Lions a better team and that much more capable of shaking off the disappointments of the last 60 years.

I point this out for one reason and one reason only; for every fan that shutters at the possibility of Bob Quinn selecting tight end T.J. Hockenson, especially at number eight overall, the draft doesn’t end there.

The same can be said if a premier player like Josh Allen somehow falls to the Lions at number eight. How well the Lions will have accomplished their job will be determined by the entire draft class, not just their first pick.

By this time next week, we will all be excited to see what the Lions will actually do with their top pick. Whether they trade down, stay put, select an edge rusher, tight end, linebacker or offensive lineman. But as exciting as the gratification of the first pick is, the on-field success we all crave as Lions fans will be determined by the Lions entire collective draft class.

Lions 2019 NFL Draft - First Round mock, Picks 1-13. dark. Next

The more contributors that Bob Quinn unearths with smart selections like last year, the better chance these Lions will have of competing for the playoffs and perhaps even that much sought after first playoff win since 1991.