Detroit Lions NFL draft grades: National pundits mildly impressed

Detroit Lions fan Benjamin Roth, who is a firefighter at the Plano Fire Department, holds his 2-month-old daughter Isadora during the NFL football draft in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, April 28, 2018. (Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

We’ve had a little time to digest the 2018 NFL draft, and with so many national outlets giving their views on how each team fared in the three-day event, here’s a sampling of how others think the Detroit Lions fared:

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.: B-minus

The unofficial king of draftniks says the Lions deserve a B-minus for their six-pick haul. He listed the Lions’ top need as running back and the team addressed it in the second round with Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson.

“Johnson was my ninth-ranked back, and I had higher players on my board, plus the injury concerns at Auburn give me pause,” Kiper wrote. “There’s no doubt that he’s talented, but is he going to be a three-down back? Can he be relied upon in pass protection?”

Kiper seemed impressed with the pick of Da’Shawn Hand, the defensive lineman out of Alabama, in the third round.

“Da’Shawn Hand (114) is a Patriots-type pick — he has all the traits in the world to be a great player, and he could play defensive tackle or defensive end,” he wrote.

Nate Davis, USA TODAY Sports: C-plus

Short and sweet, Davis wrote that while Johnson would get many headlines, “new coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn were busy fortifying their lines, starting with first-round C Frank Ragnow.”

CBSSports.com

The website provide a grade for each pick from all seven rounds. They gave the Ragnow pick a B-plus and the Johnson selection an A, claiming “(h)e will be a big-time producer on the ground.”

The others: B for Louisiana-Lafayette safety Tracy Walker, C for Hand, A for Tyrell Crosby and a C-minus for Nick Bawden.

Chad Reuter, NFL.com: B

Reuter’s a big fan of the Ragnow pick and liked what Detroit did on Day 3, especially with Crosby, the offensive lineman from Oregon.

“Great value in Crosby, who should be a starter at guard or tackle very soon because of his strength. He has quick enough feet to handle pass protection duties,” Reuter wrote.

Andy Benoit, SI.com: B

While Benoit lauded the Lions addressing their running game in the draft, he thinks they missed out on one position that they should have tried harder to fill.

“On the downside, the Lions didn’t find a pass-catching tight end to replace Eric Ebron – they simply didn’t have enough picks to address that need. The job now falls to ex-Seahawk Luke Willson, who is at least proficient going down the seams,” Benoit wrote.

Vinnie Iyer, SportingNews.com: C-minus

This assessment might have been the harshest we could find. Iyer was less than impressed with the overall draft class by the Lions.

“Trading up for Johnson, however, was questionable for the backfield, and Walker was a reach for the secondary. The Lions ignoring linebacker and tight end was not good,” he wrote.

Dan Kadar, SBNation: B

This writer put a little more focus on Walker, the defensive back who was surprised he was taken on Day 2.

“Detroit showed last season by taking Kenny Golladay the franchise doesn’t mind surprising people. They did so in the third round this year with Tracy Walker of Louisiana-Lafayette in the third round. The safety has good ball skills and doesn’t mind coming up against the run,” Kadar wrote.

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