As I’ve often said, defense wins championships and whether you agree or disagree with the picks of Tavai and Harris, it was expected that Bob Quinn would address the personnel on the defensive side of the ball. Matt Patricia is a defensive coach and the change in personnel that the Lions have had to do has been radical.
Consider how many returning players last season we all expected to be core members of Patricia’s defense, but instead were sent packing. That meant that there would be a few additional pieces added in the draft. So it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise when they finally selected an edge-rusher in the fourth round.
Austin Bryant was the least heralded member of that outstanding Clemson defensive line but with eight and a half sacks each of the past two years, his production makes him a worthy pick. As a matter of fact, if it had not been for his pectoral injury he would probably have been drafted higher.
So does the value of this pick balance out the pick of Tavai in the second round? There’s no way we could answer that today, but the fact of the matter is that Bryant is a very solid pick that fits what Matt Patricia wants to do on defense.
In the fifth round, the Lions decided it was time to address cornerback. That was when they selected Amani Oruwariye. The former Penn State product had been a favorite in local mock drafts to land in Detroit and he did.
He won’t wow you with athleticism, but he is certainly fast enough with good ball skills and, you guessed it, will lay the wood to ball-carriers. Oruwariye is another example of being the kind of player that Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia want for their defense. It also addresses another need for the Lions, but it was at this point you had to start wondering if T.J. Hockenson was considered the cure-all for the Lions offensive woes, or if there would be more help on the way.