There were plenty of mock drafts that projected the Detroit Lions going defensive tackle in the first round. That didn't come to pass. However, the Lions might have gotten Aaron Donald Lite in the fifth round with Caraun Reid.
Notice the spelling of the word "lite," because Reid is anything but light at 302 pounds. He also represents a break with the former coaching staff, as his off-the-field dossier lists things like Princeton and an a cappella group instead of arrests.
But fans and coaches won't really care about his academic achievements or outside interests if he can't produce. Let's breakdown where he will fit in Detroit.
Reid is a Well-Rounded Defensive Tackle
No, that's not another fat joke, and it isn't related to his impressive resume. Reid is a defensive tackle capable of doing a lot of different things for the Lions.
His stocky frame is perfect for plugging up holes in the run game. Reid has the strength and bulk to occupy a blocker or two while allowing the linebackers to flow to the ball without having to shed a lineman.
That's probably not the reason he was drafted though. General manager Martin Mayhew has an affinity for guys who can rush the passer from the inside, and that's exactly where Reid's value resides.
Reid posted 20.5 sacks while at Princeton, showcasing an impressive array of moves. He doesn't just rely on his quickness to slither between linemen. He will bust out a rip on a play, a swim move on the next and finish it all off with a bull rush on third down.
If he didn't play at such a small school, Reid would have been a much higher pick.
What's his Role With Two Already Established Tackles in Front of Him?
This question would have been a more burning topic of conversation had the Lions taken Donald in the first round, or any of the other fine defensive tackle prospects available during the second day. Since Reid is a fifth-rounder, people will accept that he will slide into the rotation somewhere and provide valuable depth.
While the above is entirely true, there is a much more subtle nuance to this pick. With Nick Fairley in the final year of his contract and Ndamukong Suh still not signed to an extension, Mayhew was able to provide some insurance in case one or both are allowed to walk.
I'm not insinuating that Reid is as talented as either former first-rounder. My point is Detroit would be much more comfortable with Fairley leaving (what I think will happen) now that they have Reid in place.
For 2014, Reid will probably sit behind C.J. Mosley on the depth chart. He'll help anchor against the run and probably notch a couple of sacks thanks to his surprising slipperiness for a man of his size.
Keep your eye on Reid. He might be that under-the-radar guy that every team is trying to identify.
Brandon Alisoglu is a Detroit Lions featured columnist who has written about the Lions on multiple sites. He also co-hosts a Lions-centric podcast,Lions Central Radio. Yell at him on Twitter about how wrong he is@BrandonAlisoglu.
All combine results are courtesy of NFL.com.
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