We expected defense, but it was an offensive showcase
Now there will be very few Lions’ fans that will be disappointed if Matthew Stafford and the offense have a banner year. But there was no question that the defense was, and still is, the team’s biggest weakness.
That doesn’t mean that Bob Quinn has completely ignored the defense this offseason, but the real bulk of their defensive additions were through free agency, while the draft was more about adding a couple of key pieces to the defense and building the offense around Matthew.
With Chase Young off the board and no suitors for the Lions to trade back a few picks, it became a matter of Bob Quinn selecting the defensive player that he most coveted. Derrick Brown would have bolstered the Lions defensive line, and Isaiah Simmons would have been a valuable and versatile piece for Matt Patricia to utilize, but Quinn decided on Jeff Okudah.
While all three were picks that would only help make the defense better, it was an easy argument to make that there would be quality defensive tackles available at the top of the second round. A true enough thought because Ross Blacklock, Justin Madubuike, Neville Gallimore, Jordan Elliott, and Marlon Davidson were all available.
So ruling out Brown was easy simply because of what the Lions could still have to choose from with their second-round selection. A pick that might have been one of those defensive tackles had D’Andre Swift not been on the board.
That left the choice to be between Okudah and Simmons. While linebacker is still a work in progress, the need for a talented cornerback was certainly pressing. Jeff Okudah was far and away the best cornerback and while I think selecting a cornerback at number three is too high, Bob Quinn did fill a need with a supremely talented player who could be one of the best in the business before long.
From there the draft naturally became offensive for Detroit because of Bob Quinn’s agenda to give Matthew Stafford every offensive advantage possible. Thus, what was expected to be a defensive heavy draft became an offensive showcase.
This means that Matt Patricia has to be ready to be flexible. He didn’t add a couple of game-breaking defensive linemen, so he needs to be ready to dial up the blitz. Especially given Julian Okwara’s ability to get to the quarterback off the edge.