There are certainly reasons that Bob Quinn could choose to select an offensive player instead. The two big ones are how moribund the Lions tight ends were last year and the other is the retirement of right guard T.J. Lang who also happened to be the Lions best lineman.
At pick number eight, the Lions could choose to fill either of those holes with a player they would be able to plug in from day one.
There are a few very good offensive linemen that the Lions could choose from if they decided to go that route, but my guess would be that if they do take one it would be Alabama’s, Jonah Williams.
Williams was a four-year starter for a dominant Alabama team and can play any position on the line. Versatility is an extremely valued commodity down at Allen Park and Williams is an exceptional player who brings that versatility.
Despite being an outstanding tackle, some think he would be a better fit at guard in the NFL. Plug him in at right guard and watch him give you 10 exceptional years of line play.
Meanwhile, there is tight end T.J. Hockenson. The former Iowa Hawkeye is perhaps the safest player in this entire draft. He may not wow you with all the measurables, be he is a complete player that does everything very well.
Hockenson is one of the best blocking tight ends to have come out of college in a while. And get this; he actually likes blocking. This is one of the reasons he is so good at it along with an outstanding work ethic.
But not to be overshadowed is his ability to run precise routes, stretch the defense and hands that are better than any other tight end in the draft as well as many receivers.
He absolutely should be an outstanding pro and will give some team a player that will enhance their ground game with his blocking and be a big-time target in the passing game.
If not for the Eric Ebron fiasco, most fans would consider him a very good choice.
So which way will Bob Quinn go? Let me start by saying that if it were me, I would go defense. I am a staunch believer in defense winning championships, but I’m also not making the pick. That being said, I believe that Bob Quinn will not go for a defensive player unless Josh Allen or Quinnen Williams by some miracle falls to them.
Another thing I believe is that Bob Quinn will not be gunshy about his pick. If he wants Hockenson, then he will absolutely take Hockenson. But I’m going to play the percentages and say it’s not going to be a tight end.
In two out of his three previous drafts, Bob Quinn went for help on the offensive line with his first pick and I think he will do so again. That would mean Alabama’s, Jonah Williams.
None of those linemen were ‘sexy’ picks, but they started to show progress last year as they helped open the door to an actual, functional ground game. They still need to be better at protecting Matthew Stafford, but the middle of the line with Frank Ragnow and Jonah Williams at guard and Graham Glasgow at center could become a real strength.
Am I willing to bet the farm on my pick? No, because there are obviously several good options and Bob Quinn could easily go with any of them. One way or another I expect Quinn to get a good player that should help the Lions immediately and ultimately that’s more important than whether any of us were able to correctly guess who it is.