The Lions come in with the eighth overall pick in the 2019 draft. The Lions seem to constantly be on the verge of being competitive and with a couple of holes to fill are looking to the draft to fix them.
The Detroit Lions seem to keep being one of the bottom two teams in the NFC North. They need to keep Stafford protected as they released T.J. Lang and have a huge need for offensive guard. Also on the offensive side of the ball they need to add an inside slot receiver. Ever since they traded Golden Tate Stafford did not look to be the same. Tight end also is a huge position of need for the offense.
On the defensive side of the ball the Lions lack any edge rush outside of Romeo Okwara. This should be one of the top priorities for them. They also released Glover Quin so safety now is a huge need for them as well.
Round 1, Pick #8 Clelin Ferrell, Edge- Clemson
Many people close to the Lions feel that there is too big of a need at the guard position (@natecheat) to pass up on it. For me though there is too much talent at the top half of the edge position to pass up on. Clelin Ferrell fills an immediate need for the future of the pass rush for the Lions. He stands 6’5 and 260 Lbs. with a huge wingspan and great bend. Two great qualities for the edge as he proved this with 21 sacks and 38 tackles for a loss in his last 29 games.
The Lions chose to let Ezekiel Ansah to walk in free agency. He had been there best pass rusher since he was drafted. They did just sign Romeo Okwara to an extension as he led the team in sacks last season but that still leaves the position thin. Ferrell can and will make an instant impact on the edge.
Round 2, Pick #43 Taylor Rapp, Safety- Washington
The Lions need a safety in a bad way after the release of Glover Quin. Taylor Rapp is one of the better ones in the 2019 draft. Rapp is a playmaker with a nose for the football. In his 39 NCAA games he has a total of 168 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, six sacks and seven interceptions. That tells me that he can play either safety position, in the box or free safety.
The Lions drafted Tracy Walker in the third round of last year’s draft and he could be poised for an upbeat in snaps alongside Quandre Diggs. Rapp though is most likely better than either of those two and Detroit would be smart not to let Rapp fall farther than the second round.
Round 3, Pick #89 Michael Jordan, Offensive Guard- Ohio St.
Although guard is a big need for the Lions I think that with the need at edge and safety, combined with what was left on the board, they will wait until the third to grab a guard. Michael Jordan has a great build for the NFL standing at 6’6 and 310 Lbs. He has an incredibly powerful lower body which works well in anchoring during interior pass rush. It also helps that he has a quick step at the snap and his powerful lower body gives good push during running plays. Michael Jordan played center for the Buckeyes so his versatility along the interior of the line should be coveted by the Lions.
Round 4, Pick #112 Andy Isabella, Wide Receiver- UMASS
Matt Stafford seemed to be out of sorts a bit after he lost his slot receiver Golden Tate. Andy Isabella can come right in and take over Tate’s position. Isabella has had a highly productive NCAA career totaling 231 receptions, 3,526 receiving yards, 30 receiving touchdowns, 342 rushing yards, and two rushing touchdowns. If Isabella was a little larger he would almost certainly be a second or third round selection but he is 5’10 and 190 Lbs.
His size makes him a perfect fit as an NFL slot receiver. He has great short area quickness and is a very good route runner which helps him in the shallow areas of the field. Isabella fits the mold of Wes Welker with very sticky hands. He would help out Matt Stafford and the Lions a great deal.
Round 5, Pick #147 Caleb Wilson, Tight End- UCLA
Caleb Wilson is a big athletic move style tight end that the Lions desperately need. He is a large target at 6’4 and 235 Lbs. and ran a 4.56 second 40 yard dash. Wilson is a good route runner but his height and speed for the position make him a good threat up the seams. He would make for a great weapon for Stafford.
Do not ask him to block much though, he is only a move tight end. That being said the Lions need to do what they can to add weapons around Matt Stafford to give him a chance to succeed. Adding a very capable pass catching tight end is something Stafford has always lacked.
Round 6, Pick #206 Dexter Williams, Running Back- Notre Dame
Kerryon Johnson is a fully capable three down back. That does not mean he will not need a breather for 5-10 carries a game. Dexter Williams is a powerful back who is very patient behind the line of scrimmage and has good vision to find gaps. He is not the quickest back in the draft but ran a mid 4.50 40 yard dash. Williams is not the type of back that will win a starting job but is capable of handling a full work load if Johnson goes down with injury.
Round 7, Pick #226 Otaro Alaka, Linebacker-Texas A&M
This is the point in the draft where teams are just looking for upside and Otaro Alaka has just that. He stands at 6’3 and 240 Lbs. he is a good bet to play strongside linebacker in the NFL. He is not the most athletic or explosive linebacker but has gotten better at diagnosing plays. His strength and competitiveness are his best qualities as his punch and hand work are powerful. With 10.5 sacks and 36.5 career tackles for a loss, Alaka could at least come in and compete.
Round 7, Pick #231 Jervontius “Bunchy ” Stallings, Offensive Guard- Kentucky
Here the Lions grab a very good guard in the late rounds. Stallings drops here because he was only a three star recruit out of high school and is not a flashy player. He flies under the radar but has been a two-year starter on an SEC team. To boot, he received first team All SEC-Honors as a Senior which is huge.
A beast in the run game, Stallings can become a big guy on the interior who Johnson can use as his main blocker up the middle. Kentucky rushed for over 2,000 yards each of the last two seasons and Stallings was a big part of that.
The Lions have a solid draft haul here in 2019. They are able to attack every position of need. They grab a top-level edge talent in Clelin Ferrell. Then Taylor Rapp is added and quickly jumps up the depth chart at the safety position. Michael Jordan and Bunchy Stallings are two very good interior lineman additions. Otaro Alaka is added to push Devon Kennard at the linebacker position and add depth to the linebacker corps. The Lions also grab two safety blankets for Matt Stafford with Andy Isabella in the slot and Caleb Wilson up the seam. To round it out they grabbed Dexter Williams who comes in and allows Kerryon johnson to be able to take a break without the team having to change the game plan. I think what we saw here is the idea in this draft is give Matt Stafford tools to succeed.