Jump to content

Motor City Sonics

Grading the 2014 Detroit Lions draft

Recommended Posts

A fair theory is that  you can't really grade a draft until 3 years later.   I  agree with that.   Some have expressed disappointment with Quinn's work last week, but we just don't know.   Brady Kaaya could be the next Tom Brady for all we know and Jarrad Davis could be a total bust.  

The 3 year theory..............Lets Grade 2014, shall we? 

Rd. 1 (10) - Eric Ebron, TE,  North Carolina
Rd. 2 (40 - Kyle Van Noy, OLB,  BYU
Rd. 3 (76) - Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
Rd. 4 - (133) Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State
Rd. 4 - (136) Larry Webster, DE, Bloomsburg
Rd. 5 - (158) Caraun Reid, DT, Princeton
Rd. 6 - (189) T.J. Jones, WR, Notre Dame
Rd. 7 - (229) Nate Freese, K, Boston College

I won't call Ebron a true bust.  He has had his moments, but they aren't consistent and if they don't bring back Boldin I think Ebron could probably fill that role, if he'd only catch the ball more often.   He puts up halfway decent numbers and if he'd been a 3rd or 4th round pick it would be far more acceptable.     Kyle Van Noy is a good player that was not used the right way in Detroit.  I don't know if he's an every down type of guy but put him in the right position and he can flourish, the Lions didn't do that - plus they had no solid talent around him.   Travis Swanson got off to a shaky start, but most Centers do.  He's turned into a solid NFL center and he should improve with an upgraded line around him, but he's had a serious concussion and one more could be it for him.   Nevin Lawson is a starter and serviceable player, which is what you kind of expect at pick 133.   Larry Webster had no impact and was waived a year later.   Caraun Reid scored a touchdown which should have been the difference on a Monday Night game in Seattle, but he had little impact otherwise.   T.J. Jones is still with the team with very little impact.  If he was going to be an impact player he would have been given more of a chance by now.   Signing Keshawn Martin, drafting Kenny Golladay and still talking about Boldin makes me think he won't be around.  Nate Freese was an absolute disaster.   

 

 It would be better if Ebron earned his No. 10 pick and they hit on one more of the later round picks.   You need to hit with one of those guys every year.  Most successful teams are loaded with 3rd through 5th rounders that exceeded expectation. Don't really see that here.   Lions keep their tradition of wasting their 2nd round pick.  I hope Quinn changes that trend because it's been a long one. 

 

A great big juicy  C

 

And I don't expect Brad Kaaya to be the next Tom Brady, but I think he will eventually show quite well for a 6th rounder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if Van Noys is a good football player in some aspects, you can't give them any credit for drafting a player that didn't fit what they were doing. That is a less forgiveable error than missing on the talent evaluation end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll give it a D+ just for Swanson potentially having a decent career. But on the other hand it has Ebron so I'll say F

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Even if Van Noys is a good football player in some aspects, you can't give them any credit for drafting a player that didn't fit what they were doing. That is a less forgiveable error than missing on the talent evaluation end.

Agreed. What I like about Quinn is that he seems to have a really sharp sense of the way that his players will be used. Mayhew never conveyed the image that he knew what he was doing.

I read a quote from Quinn somewhere that 70% of NFL LBs are situational players. So he spent his 1st round pick on a guy who can be a three down player and captain of his defense, then picked up a small, quick LB later who will come in on passing downs to help shore up the team's biggest weakness from last year.

Once Quinn gets a few drafts under his belt, and has a deep enough roster, I like the thought of him being more creative - like the Patriots are.

But the 2014 draft can't be any better than a "D".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hard to give it more than a D.  1 reliable starter in Swanson, a disappointment in Ebron who was slightly improved last season but still has major holes in his game, a bust in Van Noy (doesn't matter what he's doing for another organization) and a bunch of guys who are either out of the league or will be soon enough.

The 2016 draft already looks light years better and we're only 1 year removed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wasting a 1 on Ebron with Donald still sitting there (and a hole at DT to fill) looks even more boneheaded today than it did on draft day. Reminds me of Mike Williams instead of Demarcus Ware. Very Millenesque. F-

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can't spend a #1 on a player like Ebron & get those kinds of numbers.  You completely whiff on your #2.  I like Swanson, & Lawson has given them enough for where they picked him.  Other than that, meh.  

I give it a D+

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, usually I am harsher than most with the Lions.   I thought they have gotten a fair bit of use out of Swanson and Lawson and that saved it a little bit.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Motor City Sonics said:

Wow, usually I am harsher than most with the Lions.   I thought they have gotten a fair bit of use out of Swanson and Lawson and that saved it a little bit.   

Yah, most teams say the goal is to find 3 starters in a draft and we did that. The Ebron pick has to be knocked a bit of course and the rest didn't work out, but I think anything lower than a C is disingenuous. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Nastradamus said:

Yah, most teams say the goal is to find 3 starters in a draft 

You may only need three starters - that would be assuming 22 starters and 7yr career averages for starters - which I think are at least in the ballpark, but I think you still need more guys to at least make the team and stick as role/ST/depth players because you have to turn over maybe 10 spots a year overall. If 2 or 3 of the rest of your non-starting draftees don't stick, that means you have pull in something like 6 or 7 UDFA in a given year to finish filling your roster. In general those guys won't be, or shouldn't be, as good as guys you had a chance to draft in the later rounds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

You may only need three starters - that would be assuming 22 starters and 7yr career averages for starters - which I think are at least in the ballpark, but I think you still need more guys to at least make the team and stick as role/ST/depth players because you have to turn over maybe 10 spots a year overall. If 2 or 3 of the rest of your non-starting draftees don't stick, that means you have pull in something like 6 or 7 UDFA in a given year to finish filling your roster. In general those guys won't be, or shouldn't be, as good as guys you had a chance to draft in the later rounds.

that's why its a C though lol. Van Noy, Reid and Jones have at least stuck around the league a bit. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

You may only need three starters - that would be assuming 22 starters and 7yr career averages for starters - which I think are at least in the ballpark, but I think you still need more guys to at least make the team and stick as role/ST/depth players because you have to turn over maybe 10 spots a year overall. If 2 or 3 of the rest of your non-starting draftees don't stick, that means you have pull in something like 6 or 7 UDFA in a given year to finish filling your roster. In general those guys won't be, or shouldn't be, as good as guys you had a chance to draft in the later rounds.

I probably graded them down because of the cumulative effect of the Millen/Mayhew era. Getting 3 starters is one thing, but missing on so many picks in the first 3 rounds over that time puts added pressure on the guys who are starting, & generally speaking were picked in lower rounds.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say a C- or a D+.   It also brings up the question on whether you should penalize them for how good Donald or any players they passed on turned out to be.   Should you just judge them based on what the players they drafted did or should you factor in what players they could have had?  If you do the latter then their score should definitely drop even more. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with the 3 starter standard is a starters have varying degree of value and teams have varying levels of talent.

New England nabbing 3 starters is tougher to achieve than the Lions nabbing 3.

Barely keeping one's job is not the same as being a solid starter which isn't the same as starring.

The 3 starter standard has Donald and Ebron as equal as each are starters.  We know they do not provide equal value.

Yes, Ebron is a starter.  Did he provide value commensurate with where he was selected?  I am not sure.  It wasn't clear if the Lions would even pick up his option recently.

Van Noy going to New England doesn't somehow make the pick better.  He provided little value to the Lions.

Swanson was a good pick.  Credit for that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

C-

would be a "c" but they had aaron donald sitting there ready to fill a huge need and took ebron instead.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Mr. Bigglesworth said:

The problem with the 3 starter standard is a starters have varying degree of value and teams have varying levels of talent.

New England nabbing 3 starters is tougher to achieve than the Lions nabbing 3.

Barely keeping one's job is not the same as being a solid starter which isn't the same as starring.

The 3 starter standard has Donald and Ebron as equal as each are starters.  We know they do not provide equal value.

Yes, Ebron is a starter.  Did he provide value commensurate with where he was selected?  I am not sure.  It wasn't clear if the Lions would even pick up his option recently.

Van Noy going to New England doesn't somehow make the pick better.  He provided little value to the Lions.

Swanson was a good pick.  Credit for that.

All 3 are starting caliber, not just starters in name. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shouldn't the grade be relative to other teams? You can really fault the Lions for not drafting more or better starters if this draft didn't produce quality starters. Obviously they blew the first round. Taylor Lewan, Odell Beckam, and Aaron Donald were drafted right after Ebron and all made the pro bowl. You then had Kyle Fuller and another trio of pro bowlers in Ryan Shazier, Zack Martin, and CJ Mosley. Really have to go round by round. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Motown Bombers said:

Shouldn't the grade be relative to other teams? You can really fault the Lions for not drafting more or better starters if this draft didn't produce quality starters. Obviously they blew the first round. Taylor Lewan, Odell Beckam, and Aaron Donald were drafted right after Ebron and all made the pro bowl. You then had Kyle Fuller and another trio of pro bowlers in Ryan Shazier, Zack Martin, and CJ Mosley. Really have to go round by round. 

That could be said, though, of every other team as well.  My issue is, with a few notable exceptions, their Round 1 & 2 talent has not produced to the level you need Round 1 & 2 talent to produce at.  Yes they've gotten starters, but some of those starters are not performing to the level you need them to to justify the position you took them in.  Multiply that over several years & you've got a systemic problem.  I like what Quinn did in his first draft.  I remain hopeful for this one.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a link to a very thorough assessment of the drafts between 1994-1999: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2016/what-does-nfl-draft-really-produce-part-i

1994 is the start of the salary cap era, and (at the time this was written) 1999 was the last year for which all drafted players were retired. There are a ton of interesting insights. For instance: 

  • The average player drafted in Round 1 played 121 games and started 101; Round 2, 97/63; Round 3, 73/38; then down to Round 7 where it was 32/13.
  • There didn't seem to be much variation from draft to draft on length of player career (which is a kind of measure of each draft's quality): between 18-21% of players in each of these drafts played more than ten years.

Much more in the piece, and there's actually a part two floating around the internet. Anyway, thought it was interesting as part of this review of previous drafts.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lawson is underrated. I worry about him getting hurt and he does get a good amount of penalties IIRC, so he isn't perfect, but he has strong value to us and I really like our top 4 CBs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      95,430
    • Total Posts
      2,708,336
  • Who's Online (See full list)

  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events found
×