NFL Draft 2011 Grades: Quick Grade on Doug Hogue to Detroit Lions in Round 5

Dean Holden@@Dean_HoldenAnalyst IApril 30, 2011

Hogue needs work on the fundamentals, but his athleticism is deniable. Exactly what the Lions like in the middle/late rounds.
Hogue needs work on the fundamentals, but his athleticism is deniable. Exactly what the Lions like in the middle/late rounds.Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones was on the board when the Detroit Lions picked the 157th selection in the 2011 NFL Draft.

They took Doug Houge, a linebacker out of Syracuse.

This is how you can tell Matt Millen isn't drafting anymore. Millen, a lazy scouter, liked taking in-state talent that was productive in college. He would have probably taken Jones in the second or third round.

Given the uncanny similarities between him and Jordon Dizon, I can say that with great certainty.

Problem is, while Jones may be good for someone, he's wrong for Detroit. He's undersized at a position Jim Schwartz has been wanting to make bigger since he arrived.

Hogue, on the other hand, is big and fast. As a guy who came to Syracuse as a running back, he had to be.

Of course, that's also his problem. As a former running back, he isn't a very good linebacker in terms of game skills. He needs to learn the position in his new system, and it may take him a little while.

The Lions have made a habit of taking guys like this at about this point in the draft. In 2009, it was small-school star Sammie Hill in the fourth round, who was a developmental prospect. He got some work in 2009 and was perhaps the team's most improved player in 2010.

In 2010, they took Jason Fox of Miami in the fourth round, who would have been a much higher pick if not for a knee injury he suffered his senior season. He spent most of the 2010 strengthening his knee (and everything else) and may well be the team's most improved player in 2011.

In 2011, they took Doug Hogue of Syracuse, who figures to spend most of his rookie season with his nose in a playbook.

But combine some knowledge and instincts at LB with his high-level athleticism, and he's a starting linebacker, if not a star linebacker, in a year or two.

Hogue also fits the team as it is currently constructed. He is effective playing in space, and can track down a play on the other side of the field. He struggles a bit when it comes to picking his way through blockers, but the Lions' defensive line will make that less of a problem than it would elsewhere.

I love this pick, and can't think of anyone I would have rather seen to the Lions at 157th.

Grade: A

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