Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia, and Rob Wood are starting what Lions fans hope is a long relationship together. This is their first NFL Draft together as a trio. Thus, the 20th pick, in the first round, is their first chance to land a real difference-maker for the franchise. Free agency has shored up some depth concerns, but in the NFL teams are built through the draft. This makes the 20th pick this year a crucial one, and one that presents a lot of intrigue.
Patricia has mentioned, on numerous occasions, he likes his teams built from the trenches (or middle) out. This means offensive and defensive lines, middle linebacker, and quarterback are his biggest concerns. The Lions have their futures at quarterback in Matthew Stafford and middle linebacker in Jarrad Davis, so it seems likely Detroit is going with a trench pick in the first round. Here are three potential fits that could suit the Lions as they enter the future with Patricia.
Taven Bryan, DT, Florida
For the second straight year, a Florida Gator defender seems to be a good fit for the Lions in round one. Bryan played defensive tackle at Florida, but has the athleticism to move inside or out which is the type of versatility we’re accustomed to seeing on a Matt Patricia defense. He is a freak athlete, one that is very raw, and attended a school that regularly went up against future NFL offensive lineman. He seems to project more as a pass rushing interior lineman as opposed to a run plugger, as his body type is more athletic and quick burst than most run-pluggers up front. Regardless, his versatility and upside are interesting, and would fit right in with what the Lions are looking to do defensively.
Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
If this pick seems off theme, thats because it is. The Lions signed LeGarrette Blount and Quinn has preached loyalty towards Ameer Abdullah. But a young running back still remains a need, and Michel is the best one in this draft not named Barkley. He runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, and has the power to break from NFL tacklers. He had a huge year at Georgia, and exploded on the biggest stages against the best competition. Michel is a great prospect at a position of need, but given Quinn’s history its a hard-sell that he would take a back in the first round.
Marcus Davenport, DE, UT San-Antonio
Davenport is one of the most unique prospects in all of the draft. He comes from a small school, which is always a risk. But, he is an absolute freak athlete, and it shows on tape and at the combine. He ran a 4.5 40-yard dash at 6’6″, 264, which is a ridiculous time. He was also among the leaders in his position in the broad jump. He has power, he has speed. But, he has little to no experience against high-level competition. He would be a risk. But, one that could pay off big-time, similar to when Ziggy Ansah came out from BYU. The Lions and Ansah are in a weird contract situation, after placing the franchise tag on him this offseason. Davenport could be his replacement come next offseason.
The options are aplenty for Quinn and his staff in the first round. Through two NFL drafts, Quinn has taken Taylor Decker and Jarrad Davis with this first round picks. Two safe selections, who both look destined for long and successful Lion careers. Quinn’s draft history is strong, leaving no reason for doubt he will continue this streak of choosing right in round one.