Lions draft grades: High marks for Rounds 1-5

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
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Taylor Decker with (from left) Lions head coach  Jim Caldwell, Lions GM Bob Quinn and Lions president Ron Wood a day after being selected with the No. 16 pick.

Allen Park — The draft is over, and now everyone will wait to see how much this year’s prospects can return on the investment made by teams.

In the end, the Lions made the 10 selections they had when the draft began Thursday as general manager Bob Quinn didn’t follow the tendencies of the trade-happy Patriots team for which he worked the previous 16 years.

With three offensive linemen and two defensive linemen among the picks, Quinn clearly put a premium on upgrading the trenches.

As always, it’s important not to rush to judgment on the picks. Lions cornerback Darius Slay struggled mightily his first season, but has looked like a top NFL cover man the past two years.

Of course, it’s still worthwhile to look at how the new players fit with the Lions and project what they could add next year and beyond.

Here are grades for the Lions’ 2016 picks:


16. Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State

The Lions have been searching for an upgrade at the left tackle spot the past few years, and even though it’s unclear if Decker will supplant Riley Reiff, he provides some security for the murky future as Reiff enters the final year of his contract. Even if Decker ends up playing right tackle, he would likely improve a position that has been a revolving door for the past two seasons. Playing next to right guard Larry Warford would give the Lions a menacing run blocking duo on that side, too.



46. A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama

Defensive tackle was a pressing need for the future with most of the Lions’ top players at the position on short-term deals. In Robinson, the Lions get a natural run-stuffer who could provide a bit of pass-rush punch in the team’s attack-first scheme. Finding a high-pedigree player who can learn from Haloti Ngata was a wise move, too.

Grade: A


95. Graham Glasgow, C, Michigan

The 6-foot-6 Glasgow is a big center, but the hope here is that he gives the Lions a big, powerful line from end to end. The competition between Glasgow and Travis Swanson ought to be one of the highlights of training camp this year. Even if Glasgow doesn’t win the job as a rookie, he should develop into a solid lineman.

Grade: B


111. Miles Killebrew, SS, Southern Utah

The Lions needed a hard-hitting safety, and they found one of the best options on Day 3, making Killebrew a nice value. He had 132 tackles last season, and even though he’ll have a difficult transition from the FCS, he should contribute on special teams immediately.



151. Joe Dahl, OL, Washington State

With experience at tackle and guard in college, the 6-foot-4 Dahl should have a chance to contribute in multiple ways for the Lions. Being a fifth-round pick, nobody should expect Dahl to start as a rookie, but with his experience as a pass blocker, there’s plenty of upside here.

Grade: A

169. Antwione Williams, LB Georgia Southern

Williams said he played all three linebacker spots during his career with the Eagles, which is a good sign considering he’ll likely compete for playing time on the strong side. With four sacks and four forced fumbles, he seems to have good tools to provide future help.

Grade: B


191. Jake Rudock, QB, Michigan

The Lions needed a young, developmental quarterback, and using one of their three sixth-round picks on a signal caller was wise, especially one with experience under center. Rudock improved his completion percentage each year he played, and accuracy is critical in this offense. Unfortunately, Rudock doesn’t have a very strong arm, and the Lions might’ve been able to get him later or in free agency.

Grade: C

Wojo: Lions got what they needed, including Rudock

202. Anthony Zettel, DL, Penn State

At 6-foot-4, 277 pounds, the West Branch native will likely be a defensive end for the Lions despite playing tackle in college. That experience, though, should help him in run support. Only issue is this seemed like a little bit of a reach.

Grade: C

210. Jimmy Landes, LS, Baylor

This was the biggest head-scratcher of the day for the Lions as 34-year-old long snapper Don Muhlbach re-signed on a one-year deal last month and still snapped well last season. However, Landes was regarded as the best snapper in the draft, and there’s a chance he plays here for the next decade, which would make this a good pick.

Grade: D


236. Dwayne Washington, RB, Washington

Physically, Washington has excellent tools. Few backs that are 6-foot-2 and 226 pounds run a 4.44-second 40-yard dash. Washington was efficient in college, but didn’t have eye-popping production. He can help as a receiver, which is good, but his 10 fumbles on just 269 college touches are a serious issue.

Grade: D

Twitter: @jkatzenstein

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