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Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange

April 29, 2018 at 10:44 pm.

A closer look at the Lions’ picks

Round 1/20 – Frank Ragnow, C, 6-5, 312, Arkansas

The Lions had Ragnow ranked as the top center on their board and declined multiple trade-down offers to take him. Ragnow has the size, smarts and physicality the Lions want on the interior of their offensive line. He can play guard, too, and should be a Day-1 starter.

Round 2/43 – Kerryon Johnson, RB, 6-0, 213, Auburn

After a run on running backs took five off the board in the first 38 picks, the Lions traded up to get Johnson. General manager Bob Quinn said the Lions will use Johnson more as an outside runner, not the between-the-guards player he was at Auburn. Johnson was SEC Offensive Player of the Year, but missed time last season with injuries.

Round 3/82 – Tracy Walker, S, 6-1, 206, Louisiana-Lafayette

While pundits projected Walker as a late Day-3 pick, the Lions, worried that two teams in front of them in Round 3 would take Walker, and celebrated enthusiastically in their draft room when he fell to Pick No. 82. Walker is a long, rangy centerfielder who had three interceptions vs. SEC competition.

Round 4/114 – Da’Shawn Hand, DL, 6-4, 297, Alabama

Hand was rated the top recruit in the country coming out of high school, but didn’t quite live up to that billing at Alabama. Still, he’s a versatile defensive lineman who will play both inside and out in the Lions’ new scheme. The Lions traded a 2019 third-round pick to take Hand.

Round 5/153 – Tyrell Crosby, T, 6-5, 309, Oregon

Crosby was widely projected as a Day-2 pick, but fell over reported concerns about concussions. The Lions needed a backup swing tackle, and found one in the three-year starter who was named Pac-12 offensive lineman of the year by his peers after not allowing a sack last season.

Round 7/237 – Nick Bawden, FB, 6-2, 245, San Diego State

A converted quarterback, Bawden blocked for 2,000-yard rushers at San Diego State each of the last two seasons. The Lions eliminated the fullback from their offense last spring, so Bawden will have to prove he’s worth a roster spot in a crowded backfield this summer.

PLUG AND PLAY

C Frank Ragnow: The Lions wouldn’t say if Ragnow will play center or guard this fall, but he will be on the field somewhere in a starting capacity. The Lions struggled to run the football up the middle at times last season, especially in short-yardage situations, and Ragnow adds a power element to the offense. He was a three-year starter and team captain at Arkansas, and in Detroit he will take Travis Swanson’s place. The Lions return their four other starters on the offensive line, and barring another rash of injuries should be dramatically improved up front.

WILL SURPRISE

DL Da’Shawn Hand: Hand wasn’t a dominant pass rusher at Alabama with just seven career sacks in three seasons, but he’s the type of versatile lineman who should play a solid rotational role as a rookie. Hand can rush from the defensive tackle spot or play as a big end, and the Lions will mix and match and move their personnel on the line this fall. As an added bonus, he played for new Lions defensive line coach Bo Davis in college, so that should help his learning curve.

WHAT THE HELL?

S Tracy Walker: You can be forgiven if you didn’t know Walker’s name before the draft, as his selection came as a surprise to many. The Lions passed on several players who could provide more immediate help for their defensive line to take Walker, a backup safety who should play on special teams this fall. He was a third-team All-Sun Belt pick, so the Lions see something some of his college foes didn’t.

 

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