The Detroit Lions imploded at the end of the 2013 dropping 4 in a row costing Jin Schwartz the head coaching job. They finished 7-9 and the 4 game skid cost them a playoff shot considering the NFC North two other teams were neck and neck. The Packers edged them with better division records. The Detroit Lions start the 2014 season with a new head coach, Jim Caldwell. Caldwell previously head coached the Indianapolis Colts from 2009-2011 and is a student of the game and a definite upgrade over Jim Schwartz. In the highly competitive NFC North this is a mandatory move by The Lions.
The Detroit Lions needs in the 2014 NFL draft
The Lions need desperate help in the secondary and need more depth at receiver. We all saw how they stalled when Calvin “Mega-tron” Johnson was missed for a few games and we watched Matthew Stafford struggle. This can’t happen again and the signing of Golden Tate doesn’t nearly complete the cadre of receivers they need. They signed Rashean Mathis at CB to a one year deal and that should make it easy for the Lions to not have to jump at a CB early. The Lions will have to concentrate their draft picks on these needs: CB, WR, Safety and OT.
2014 NFL DRAFT PICK RECAP AND ANALYSIS
Eric Ebron TE, North Carolina Round 1 Pick # 10
First draft and I am confused. They have depth and good enough players at TE and didn’t need to jump here at a TE. I has the Detroit lions in my 2014 NFL Mock Draft taking Anthony Barr from UCLA. With the Minnesota Vikings jumping on him a draft pick ahead, If the Lions did have him ahead as a need and just missed him, then it is understandable why they chose TE but they could have easily grabbed Taylor Lewan at OT and that would have immediately upgraded their offensive line. Ebron is good, don’t get me wrong, just was better prospects out there for them.
Kyle Van Noy LB, Brigham Young Round 2 Pick # 8
Lions traded up five spots to draft this outstanding linebacker who can play all over the field and do everything well. Doesn’t have an ideal way to play and maybe that’s why he is just a great draft pick. Will immediately and upgrade the Lions defense in all aspects. Love this guy.
Travis Swanson C, Arkansas Round 3 Pick # 12
6’5″ 320 pound interior lineman that can play Center and Guard. Huge pick up for the Lions as he is a conventional zone type blocker and should play almost immediately. An NFL conditioning program should make him an outstanding anchor in a few years where his football intellect will then give him the edge and the conversation will start that he is a Pro Bowl player. Great Pick.
Nevin Lawson DB, Utah State Round 4 Pick # 33
Small, fast CB that is not what the Lions wanted or needed. Not sure why they settled here. This guy has limited upside and to me it was a high risk draft pick. Just don’t see his size or skill set making him a competitive player in the league where receivers have 5 to 7 inches on him. USC WR Marqise Lee had him for breakfast when they played. If he can’t cover Lee, he can’t play in the NFL. Simple.
Larry Webster DE, Bloomsburg (PA) Round 4 Pick # 36
Developmental player that will have a limited role in the first year or so. An out the of the box thought is he has the skills to be converted to a Tight End. 6’6, 250 pound player with 4.4 speed, good hips, and father Larry Webster Sr. played in the NFL as a defensive lineman for 10 years. Could be the steal of the draft for the ions if they can develop this raw talent over the next two years. Would really love to see him as a TE and it makes the Eric Ebron draft that much more confusing.
Caraun Reid DT, Princeton Round 5 Pick # 18
development talent that has great quickness and good strength that should only get better with good coaching. Could be an asset as a 5 technique DT in a 3-4 scheme. Great developmental pick.
T.J. Jones WR, Notre Dame Round 6 Pick # 13
Nice size wide receiver with 4.45 speed. Could be an early contributor to the Lions vertical deep threat. Surprised that this guy didn’t get the attention of the Texans or the Patriots. Excellent pick and see a great future ahead for this receiver. Matt Stafford is gonna make him look like a superstar.
Nate Freese K, Boston College Round 7 Pick # 14
Every time a kicker is drafted, it peaks my interest. Needing to replace the roller coaster kicker David Akers this pick made a lot of sense and wouldn’t surprise me if he is on the field the first game of the season. They needed a versatile kicker/punter to kick in the dome and in the cold weather of Minnesota, Green Bay and Chicago and this the guy. Good Pick but the Lions may look to sign a veteran kicker anyway.
Overall Team Draft Day Analysis
First year Detroit Lions coach had a good day drafting, not exactly what I would have done but I get it. They had nine draft picks and cut them into three categories: Starters, situational contributors and development. I think it is a good recipe for success. Only pick that still gnaws at me is the Ebron one. They didn’t need this guy and Taylor Lewan would have been a beast on the line for them.
Draft Grade: B
That first pick hurts them. They have TEs and didn’t need to be redundant. The pick will haunt them all season so they can’t get any higher than a Grade B from me.
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