The Detroit Lions come into 2018 with some major question marks & needs in terms of taking the next level as a franchise. After a 9-7 season that left the team out of the playoffs, the team has to make strides in 2018 to challenge for the NFC North division.
In many ways, they have done just that. This NFL Draft for the Lions focuses on having a balance attack for QB Matthew Stafford to thrive. Most of the snaps he takes in games come from the shotgun position. Being in a passing formation most times alerts teams that most likely the Lions are not able to run the football. GM Bob Quinn made sure that that situation got some resolutions a bit in this draft. We break down the draft & the year going forward in our 2018 Detroit Lions NFL Draft Review.
20th Overall Pick First Round – Frank Ragnow – Arkansas – 2018 Detroit Lions NFL Draft Review
Frank Ragnow is not a player that will wow the fanbase in the motor city. Many fans have been wanting to team to look at getting stronger in the secondary – namely with a safety or cornerback. However, Ragnow might be the guy to take care of many other issues around the offense. The Lions have had issues running the football over the last few years. The leading rusher in 2017 – Ameer Abdullah – led the team with only 554 yards. The team averaged 3.4 yards per carry.
Ragnow, if he can stay healthy, brings some toughness to the offensive line. Looking back at some of his film from Arkansas, Ragnow plays very much like a Dominic Raiola type. He was dominant at Nebraska during his time there & was mean & tough as a player here with the Lions at the center position. As we mentioned, Ragnow has an injury history. If he keeps on the healthy path, he is able to play center & move to guard at times. This is not a flashy pick, but a guy that can solidify an offensive line that has not been able to move people at the line of scrimmage often.
DraftKings Fantasy Impact For Frank Ragnow
From a fantasy standpoint, Ragnow obviously won’t bring in any big stats. However, he can become a key player if he can block well for using a Lions running back in tournaments. Most likely, the team will try him at guard early to get him used to the center position in camp. If he can help solidify the offensive line with LeGarrette Blount in the fold now, he could be an impact on RBs in tournaments & cash games.
Kerryon Johnson – Second Round Pick #11 – Auburn – 2018 Detroit Lions NFL Draft Review
At this point in the draft, this was a true steal in our opinion. Johnson is a dominant runner & had great success against major competition in the SEC. As the running back for Auburn, he ran for 1320 yards this season & 17 TDs, giving him second team All-American honors. The kid is a true bulldozer running the ball, and doesn’t really do enough cuts to elude tacklers & big hits.
Pairing him with Blount could be interesting in the backfield. If the team brings back Ameer Abdullah or Theo Riddick, the Lions will have a nice trifecta of running backs that can change speeds nicely. He needs to have major holes opening for him on the line regularly, otherwise he will run through people. That mentality will work for a bit, however, the NFL tacklers are definitely the the same as what he faced at Auburn.
Johnson will need to know how to just give up on a play & come back for the next down. In many big games during the season & his career, Johnson got a lot of yards. However, there were times when it was needed for him to just go down, get what he can & come back for the next play. He is good on all three downs & the Lions have not had a running back like that since Barry Sanders. With splitting time in the backfield, he will most likely have much more preservation on his body as he probably won’t have 25-30 carries a game.
DraftKings Fantasy Impact For Kerryon Johnson
On the fantasy side of things, we see him as a guy who could be great around the goal line. He could definitely be someone on 4th & 1 who can get the ball in with a good push on the line. That need to never give up will be important in that part of the field. Early on, the big rushing yards may not be there, but for a touchdown machine, take a look at Johnson during the preseason.
Tracy Walker – Third Round Pick – Pick 82 – 2018 Detroit Lions NFL Draft Review
Tracy Walker is a player who actually thought he was more of a 5th round pick. The Lions took him far earlier & the results are mixed on this pick. The team has needs in the defensive line area (where they do take care of later in the draft). Their safeties are solid at least for this year. They do have players going into free agency next season, however, the Lions were 4th in the NFL in forced takeaways last season (19 interceptions, 13 fumble recoveries).
Walker is the type of safety who likes to come up & lay the wood to guys. He had only one interception last year at Lousiana. However, he had 97 tackles, showing he can handle himself in the open field.
Da’Shawn Hand – Fourth Round Pick (114) – Alabama – 2018 Detroit Lions NFL Draft Review
Da’Shawn Hand is a guy who has all of the physical attributes to be a true force in the league early on. However, he does bring in some baggage. He had an MCL injury last season that slowed him down a bit, even though he had 27 tackles & 3.5 sack for the Crimson Tide. Hand was involved in plays, but there were also times when he was not bringing it as hard as he his talent says.
He was also found asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle during his college days. Hand can be a guy that can surprise people, but definitely looks like a project. The Lions & Hand have to realize is his energy & passion truly into football & winning each battle at the line of scrimmage.
Tyrell Crosby – Fifth Round Pick – Oregon – 2018 Detroit Lions NFL Draft Review
Crosby is a guy that can play multiple positions on the offensive line. He will most likely be slotted in at left guard, but can also play right & left tackle areas. Right now, the Lions have a young & strong offensive line built for the 2018 season with Taylor Decker, Crosby, Ragnow & a good veteran in T.J. Lang who can be the leader of this line.
Crosby does have issues at time with weight. That may get taken care of with being on a true NFL type of regimen. He is a powerful guy that can move guys off the line with ease. However, his hands do tend to wander at times, opening him up for potential holding penalties. The technique issues should be handled easily during training camps.
Nick Bawden – Seventh Round Pick – (234) – San Diego State – 2018 Detroit Lions NFL Draft Review
Bawden is a fullback who originally went to San Diego State as a three-star quarterback. He has the build & size to be a bruiser in the run game. While he is not someone who will be a consistent ball carrier, he can open up some holes for the running game. Many teams don’t truly have two full backs on their roster, but with Zach Zenner being resigned & having the ability to be a FB, the Lions can run some interesting sets.
Bob Quinn as done a lot to open up the running game this offseason & under new head coach Matt Patricia, the Lions are working on making their identity more of a physical style of team. If he makes the final squad, a guy like Bawden can open up the passing game. The option of play-action passing, will make Stafford much more dangerous going vertical to Kenny Golladay or with patterns to Golden Tate.
2018 Detroit Lions NFL Draft Review Overall Grade – B
The Lions took care of areas of need in terms of the offensive line. Lions fans should be happy with more focus on the run game, definitely bringing in the traits of the Patriots dynasty. However, the questions on defense with Hand will be there early on. The late round picks are solid, but training camp will truly tell us the story. If the picks pan out, this is a team that will make Stafford a true MVP candidate with massive numbers.
In terms of DraftKings NFL DFS, the guy to watch is Johnson. As we mentioned, he is a physical runner who could be important in goal-line situations. His bruising style & ability to carry tacklers could make for good chances at points in tournaments with long shots.