Here are three ways the Detroit Lions absolutely crushed the 2019 NFL Draft after landing an epic haul of veterans in free agency this offseason.
Despite the negative backlash following the 2019 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions will field a significantly better team than the one that posted a disappointing 6-10 record in 2018.
Although the team is believed to have overreached with their first two selections, they had the freedom to do so because of how they addressed their roster prior to the annual selection event. Here are three ways we believe the Lions actually crushed the 2019 NFL Draft despite what the naysayers believe.
1. Excellent Free Agent Class
The Lions signed an epic set of veterans prior to the draft. Names like defensive end Trey Flowers, cornerback Justin Coleman, wide receiver Danny Amendola, running back C.J. Anderson, tight end Jesse James, defensive back Rashaan Melvin and several others.
This allowed the Lions to draft the best player available over trying to only fill team needs. Detroit knew their roster was already significantly improved before the draft even began. That allowed them to take chances on players like tight end T.J. Hockenson and linebacker Jahlani Tavai.
2. Tight End – From weakness to strength
Last season, Detroit signed free agent tight ends Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo to each play significant roles. Each started at least eight games, but neither was re-signed this offseason as the position was considered one of the roster’s biggest weaknesses in 2018.
Post-free agency and the draft, suddenly tight end is a major strength in Detroit with newcomers T.J. Hockenson, Jesse James and Isaac Nauta now manning the position. Hockenson, the Lions’ first-round selection, is expected to be an instant star as the top tight end in an impressive draft class.
3. Infusing the defense with youth
When the Lions hired former New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as the team’s newest head coach, there was an expectation that the Motor City would be much improved on defense. After a slow start, Detroit ended last season with the 10th best defense in the NFL.
That unit only got better following the draft, as the Lions spent four of their first five picks on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker Jahlani Tavai, safety Will Harris, defensive end Austin Bryant and cornerback Amani Oruwariye all represent a much-needed infusion of youth in Motown. And each was hand-selected by Patricia to fit his system.