Going Deep: Predicting Detroit Lions six picks in 2018 draft

— By Howard Balzer, NFLDraftScout.com —

The Detroit Lions have six picks in the NFL Draft, including No. 20 in the first round April 26 in Arlington, Tex.

Here is a look at the Lions’ five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2017 season. Below that are the team’s current needs heading into this draft and our projection for all their 2018 picks.

LIONS’ FIVE-YEAR DRAFT BREAKDOWN

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

TOTAL PICKS 9 8 7 10 9

STARTERS 3 3 1 4 1

BACKUPS 1 1 2 4 6

OTHER TEAMS 1 2 4 1 2

OUT OF LEAGUE 4 2 0 1 0

TOP 3 NEEDS IN 2018 DRAFT

  1. Pass rusher: The Lions have both immediate and long-term needs at defensive end, with Ezekiel Ansah likely to play this fall on the tag and quite possibly headed for greener pastures in 2019. For now, Anthony Zettel and Kerry Hyder (coming off a torn Achilles) are the Lions’ Nos. 2 and 3 defensive ends. Kennard adds a pass-rushing element to the edge from his linebacker spot, but the Lions don’t have anyone else that can fill that role should something happen. They’ll come away from this draft with at least one pass rusher.
  1. Running back: No team was worse running the ball than the Lions last year, and the organization went into this offseason planning to add a veteran in free agency and a rookie through the draft. Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner and Tion Green all return from last season, but none is the long-term answer to the Lions’ problems. Patricia believes in a running back-by-committee approach, so the Lions don’t necessarily have to spend a top pick on the position. But they need to add someone who can be the focal point of the running game going forward.
  1. Interior offensive line: The Lions had no intentions of re-signing center Travis Swanson, but they still have a big question mark on the offensive line entering the draft. Graham Glasgow has made starts at both center and left guard the last two years, and if he moves to center full-time than Joe Dahl is the favorite to start at guard. Dahl is inexperienced, though, and neither of the free agents the Lions signed, Wesley Johnson or Kenny Wiggins, inspires much confidence. With right guard T.J. Lang entering his age-31 season, it’s imperative the Lions draft an interior lineman.

Below is a list of all six of the Lions’ picks, with players suggested by NFLDraftScout.com.

LIONS 2018 Draft (Six picks)

Rd./overall pick: Player selected

1-20: Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio (6-6, 264, 4.58)

2-51: Sony Michel, RB, Georgia (5-11, 214, 4.54)

3-82: Austin Corbett, G/C, Nevada (6-4, 306, 5.15)

4-117: Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State (6-1, 317, 5.33)

5-153: Marcus Allen, S, Penn State (6-2, 215, 4.63)

7-237: Matt Gono, G, Wesley (6-4, 319, 5.10)

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