Grading the Lions draft this year it's a lot more satisfying and exciting task than it has been in years past. With players like Jason Fox being selected all the way down in the fourth round, I know someone is doing something right in this organization.
First let's look at all the players the Lions drafted, I'll try and comment more on the later picks as people know less about them than say Suh or Best.
The players include: Ndamukong Suh(Pick No. 2), Jahvid Best (No. 30), Amari Spievey (No. 66), Jason Fox (No. 128), Willie Young (No. 213), Tim Toone (No. 255)
Everyone knows all about Ndamukong Suh and I'm not trying to live down the pick, but I'm sure you've read enough about him. So I'll just say it was the right pick and Suh will be a force for years to come.
Most of you are well aware of how good Best is, and what he will be doing for the Lions. It's also good to note he would have been top 15, and maybe even top 10, if not for his injury, which he has been cleared of. No doubt in my mind, if he stays healthy, he'll be a pro bowler.
Now on to Amari Spievey, I'm not completely sold on this pick though Detroit definitely needed a CB. I still am hoping they will sign Pacman and not try to rely on Spievey becoming the starter.
Amari excels at zone coverage, and he could end up being good enough to start in one-on-one situations, but I doubt it. He hits hard, but I'm a little concerned with the fact that when he decides he's going to hit someone, he just lowers the head and sprints forward.
That works in little league, and maybe high school if you have talent like him. But in the NFL, players will simply avoid him and there could be a possibility of missed tackles, not something Detroit needs.
Next is Jason Fox, drafted in the fourth round by the Lions and probably one of the bigger steals in the draft. If Jason hadn't been injured he would have been drafted in the second or high third rounds.
Jason was injured last year, and he had surgery that ended his amazing Miami career. He was the most consistent lineman on the team, and almost ever. He started 47 career games, which is third best in school history. Not bad, considering Miami has a great track record for offensive lineman in the NFL.
Jason was All-ACC last year, even though he missed games due to his season ending surgery. There is no doubt in my mind that he was a second round talent who fell to the Lions.
Many have already said he doesn't have the talent to start in the NFL, but they're wrong. Watch any of his highlights with Miami and you'll soon realize this was one of the biggest steals of the draft.
Next up is Willie Young, a dominant defensive end from North Caroline State, who would have went a lot higher if he had been consistent.
Young finished his career ranked second in NC State history in career tackles for loss (45.5) and sixth in sacks (20.5). A second-team All-ACC performer, he started 36 career games. Young finished his senior season with eight sacks.
You'll not his was second in career tackles for loss, the only player ahead of him being Mario Williams. He has been compared by many to Williams, but he lacks the strength that Williams has.
Young has been inconsistent in his career, and struggles against the run. He relies on his amazing speed and leaping ability to make plays.
A lot of people think they could move him back to linebacker, to me that would be the smartest move. He is an excellent pass rusher, and will excel at pass rushing in the NFL.
If however the Lions are set on making him a defensive end, he could learn a lot from Kyle and take over his spot in a few years. The main area of concern from Young is his strength, which is something that can be worked on. Another potential steal late in the draft for Detroit.
Overall the Lions had a good draft, and addressed many areas of concern. But as always for any team, and especially one who hasn't won much lately, there is always more to do. The Lions still need a safety, linebacker, and offensive lineman.
A few potential players the Lions should look at for each of those three positions include:
Safety: Atari Bigby, Darren Sharper
Linebacker: Keith Bullock
Offensive Lineman: Alan Faneca, Jared Gaither, Logan Mankins
These are just a few players I think Detroit should take a serious look at, especially Alan, who I believe has been a pro bowler nine years running.