National writers grade Lions' draft

The Detroit News
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Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: I was one who liked first-round tackle Taylor Decker more than Titans first-round pick Jack Conklin. The Lions needed help up front and Decker will solidify the right tackle spot. Not taking a receiver at some point in the draft. Yes, they signed Marvin Jones to replace Calvin Johnson, but why not add a few more? Fifth-round pick Joe Dahl is a grinder who can be a rotation player in a year or two. He is battler who might be better suited to playing guard. The decision to address both lines was a smart one for Bob Quinn running his first draft. Decker and second-round pick A'Shawn Robinson could both be first-year starters. They also added center Graham Glasgow in the third round. Grade: B-

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: Detroit got better on the O-line and one of the steals of the draft on defense in A'Shawn Robinson, my No. 20 overall player at No. 46. That's a good draft. The Lions' 2015 season went off the rails early and the culprit was a shaky offensive line, which allowed far too many hits on Matthew Stafford and didn't open any holes in the run game. The change at offensive coordinator helped, but the line still needs an infusion of talent. Taylor Decker could be plugged in right away at right tackle, and was my 16th-ranked player -- which is where he was taken. Graham Glasgow has played center and guard and could push Travis Swanson at center. Joe Dahl projects to guard in the pros, but at Washington State he was an excellent left tackle, so don't be surprised if he at least gets a look there. Miles Killebrew is a good safety prospect, and that's a need position. I don't know where Anthony Zettel ends up on the D-line, but that's a good bet later in the draft. The two problems for me? The Lions didn't address wideout after the retirement of Calvin Johnson, and I would've liked to see them take a corner. Grade: B-

Todd McShay, ESPN: QB Matthew Stafford was sacked 89 times the past two seasons, fourth most in the league, so the Lions needed to address their offensive line. While the top three left tackle prospects were off the board by the time Detroit picked at No. 16, they did well to snag Decker, who has one of the highest floors of any player in this draft class. A highly effective run blocker, Decker shows great toughness on the field. I also liked the addition of fifth-round G Joe Dahl, who has the football intelligence to play all five positions up front. Grade: None

Doug Farrar, Sports Illustrated: Taylor Decker should be able to stave off the increasing number of pass rushers who have been able to harass Matthew Stafford, through there is some concern about his viability as a left tackle at the next level. Robinson has top-20 talent, but many teams overlooked him because they thought (incorrectly) that he can’t penetrate as a one-gap player. Apparently, his 2013 tape was unavailable. Center Graham Glasgow is a reliable player who fills an immediate need. Miles Killebrew is a player to watch — if he can keep his aggressiveness under control, he’s an enforcer safety in the Kam Chancellor mold. Guard Joe Dahl may take some time to adjust to the NFL after time in Mike Leach’s Washington State offense, but he’s a talented athlete. Zettel is the sleeper here, with the ability to play end and tackle.​ Grade: B

Lindsay H. Jones, USA Today: The first two picks weren’t too sexy - Ohio State OT Taylor Decker in the first, and Alabama DT A’Shawn Robsinson in the second - but the Lions definitely needed help in the trenches. They built depth on the final day of the draft with six picks in Rounds 5-7, but it’s hard to project how any of those late picks will perform. Grade: C

Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus: We had a second-round grade on Taylor Decker, so we like him overall as a player, just not this high in the draft. He’s a mauling run-blocker (eighth in the nation in 2014 in run-block grades), but two straight years of average grades in pass protection have us concerned. A’Shawn Robinson was getting first-round hype that we weren’t sure was warranted due to his limited pass-rush production at Alabama, but this was a perfect spot for him and a good value for the No. 13 run-stopper in the nation each of the last two years. He hasn’t shown that he can get after the quarterback effectively, but he’s a classic 3-4 defensive end for early downs. Graham Glasgow had a better year as a guard in 2014 than he did at center in 2015. He’ll make some impressive blocks and some ugly ones, evening off to his plus-0.8 overall grade that ranked 28th in the class last year. Grade: C

Dan Kadar, SB Nation: The Lions added a mean streak to their team with their first four picks. Taylor Decker is an imposing blocker who excels on power run plays and will keep quarterback Matthew Stafford upright. A'Shawn Robinson is an intimidating presence up front who shouldn't have been around with the No. 46 overall pick. Miles Killebrew is a classic big-hitting safety who can come downhill in a hurry to crush the ball carrier. He may be a linebacker in the NFL. Wherever he plays, he's going to hit people. The Lions grabbed another offensive lineman in Joe Dahl of Washington State. He's a pass blocker first, and will need to grow as a run blocker. Anthony Zettel was a sneaky good pick in the sixth round. He was the leader of a talented Penn State defensive line that had three players taken in this draft. Grade: B

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