Did the Detroit Lions get the building blocks they need?
By Robert Jones
The Detroit Lions’ Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell have completed their first draft together. Will this draft class become the foundation of a contender?
Last year I had my first annual ‘lock myself in the mancave for the virtual NFL draft’. This year despite things being only slightly more open, I decided to still have my second annual mancave lockdown. What I didn’t count on was an illness.
Now the full disclosure is that I never get sick. I may have some days where I’m a little under one hundred percent, but I just don’t get sick. Now here I am with my sinuses going crazy, and a low-grade fever on draft weekend.
Now, this illness is just more annoying than anything else. I know I’ll probably be back to full health before the draft weekend is over, but I begrudgingly agree to leave the mancave unlocked so my daughter can periodically make sure I’m still alive.
But as I prop myself up on my mancave couch, laptop at the ready for any fact-checking I need, I have now put myself on the mancave draft clock. Let’s see what happens.
It was no surprise to see Trevor Lawrence going first to the Jaguars, then the Jets nabbed Zach Wilson. At number three the 49ers went with Trey Lance, while the Falcons took Kyle Pitts at number four.
None of this was a huge surprise, but the first twist came next. With pick number five, my lucky number, the Bengals selected Ja’Marr Chase. That meant the Penei Sewell watch was alive. With the Miami Dolphins being the last selection before the Lions, this became very interesting. Having already invested in their offensive line last year, the Dolphins decided to give Tua a weapon. Miami selected receiver Jaylen Waddle.
There were only two players outside of a franchise quarterback that I was willing to accept at the number seven pick. The second option was Micah Parsons because I think he will become an impact defender at a position of desperate need. The first choice was who the Lions did select; Oregon tackle Penei Sewell.
The Lions now have building blocks at every offensive line position except one. If Dan Campbell’s staff can elevate the play of Halapoulivaati Vaitai at right guard, then the offense has a chance to start controlling the line of scrimmage. Detroit will run the ball.
I would expect that Sewell will cross-train at both tackles. Taylor Decker is coming off a very good year, but if Sewell outplays the veteran at some point it wouldn’t be a shocker to see Sewell moved to the blindside. Decker is 27 years old and has more mileage left in him, but in two years things can change.
We need to remember that everything Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell do is with an eye for two years down the road. Sewell will make an immediate impact at right tackle, but in two years he may be a cornerstone on the left side.
I’m not surprised when the Lions don’t make a move to get back in the first round. They have five picks left and they need to maximize them. While trading back for more picks would have been great, Sewell was an outstanding pick and I am satisfied with the first-round results.
My daughter came down and made me take my temperature to be sure I’m O.K. The Lions got Sewell, so I’ll humor her. Then as the evening’s festivities wind down, It’s time for some sleep. I’ll start my homework for the second round tomorrow.