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Lions mailbag: NFL draft edition

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Reuben Foster

Allen Park -- The NFL draft is Thursday-Saturday. What better reason could there be for doing a Detroit Lions mailbag? On to your questions.

@Justin_Rogers Is Reuben Foster's diluted drug test in your opinion take him off the Lions draft board or is he a realistic option at 21?

— Ryan McCumber (@ChopperThePug76) April 24, 2017

Here's the thing with drug tests, there's a surprising percentage of NFL players who smoke marijuana. The usage of the drug by a college prospect, if that's what we're assuming here with Foster, wouldn't really be cause for concern. The bigger issue would be that he wasn't smart enough to stop using it during a stretch where he knew he'd be tested. In the NFL, as long as you're not in the substance-abuse program, you're only subjected to a single test each year, during a known window. All players have to do is be smart about their timing and its not an issue.

The bigger concerns with Foster would probably be his rotator cuff, which required surgery earlier this year and might need another, and some other character issues. The people you associate with in your free time is one of the easiest paths to failure.

@Justin_Rogers are you in favor of or against the tipping of the draft picks while watching?

— MotorCitySportsTalk (@MCSTdotcom) April 24, 2017

Let me compare this to having a child. Hang with me here.

Some people don't want to know the sex of their baby until it's born. They want that added surprise. Others want to know as soon as the information is available via an ultrasound, to allow them to better prepare, whether it's painting the room or buying clothes. I'm in the latter camp. It's still a surprise, you just find out early.

Here's the thing with draft pick leaks, it's pretty easy to avoid them, just stay off social media, particularly Twitter. If you want to be surprised when the commissioner announces the picks, get off the internet.

This isn't like a game. Knowing the final score ruins the point of watching. With a draft pick, if you find out five or 10 minutes early, there's still value in watching the broadcast, getting the reactions of the commentators and the player, assuming he's on hand for the event.

@Justin_Rogers Sorry if u answered this already but with no Thursday night games when will the Lions wear those new color rush jerseys?

— Mike Rizzo (@mikerizzo87) April 24, 2017

The Lions haven't announced any uniform plans yet, but based on Rod Wood's comments, the team is likely to wear their throwback look on Thanksgiving. If I was to bet on the Color Rush getup being used, it would be during the team's Week 15 matchup with Chicago. That's a Saturday game that will be broadcast on the NFL Network.

@Justin_Rogers Is Laken Tomlinson, or anybody else, traded during the draft?

— Tracy H (@jockoe28) April 24, 2017

When the Lions have talked about Tomlinson this offseason, they make it sound like he's in the plans for 2017, competing with Graham Glasgow and Joe Dahl for the left guard job. But team officials also said DeAndre Levy wasn't going anywhere days before they cut him loose.

I can't guarantee Detroit will trade any player during the draft, but Tomlinson makes the most sense. Other teams liked his talent and potential coming out of Duke a few years ago, so you might be able to find an interested buyer.

Trading Tomlinson would bring back a minimal return. We're talking a seventh-round choice or maybe a pick swap where the Lions move up a few spots in the fourth or fifth round. From a cap perspective, it would save the Lions $1.2 million in space over this season and next.

@Justin_Rogers How many hours of sleep to you anticipate getting this week?

— Vince Vielhaber (@vieltech) April 24, 2017

I should get decent sleep -- I'm used to staying up late (1-2 a.m.) and the draft doesn't typically have much going on in the early morning. But it's definitely a long work week, no doubt. Probably my longest of the year. I used to track it at my previous job and it would range between 80-100 hours of work. I wasn't going to think about it this year. Thanks a lot, jerk.

Eric Ebron

@Justin_Rogers should they let Ebron go? I say yes

— Julious (@timmsu) April 24, 2017

I lean no on this debate. You see the numbers on the fifth-year option for the tight end, approximately $8.2 million, and cringe. I get that. But that would give him the seventh-highest cap number in 2018, and that's appropriate for his production, which has steadily increased since he arrived.

The problem with Eric Ebron is he's always going to be held to the standard of being a top-10 pick, but he didn't draft himself. At this point, you simply have to pay a player what they're worth, and on the open market, he'd likely find a contract between $7-9 million per season.

Charles Clay got $38.5 million over five years. Zach Ertz, five years, $42.5 million. Jordan Reed, five years, $46.75 million. That's the market.

@Justin_Rogers Are the Lions locking in on DE or DB, or is Quinn truly going with best player available? (RB/TE/WR)

— Nick Larisch (@N_Larisch) April 24, 2017

The Lions have enough needs across the board that they can go BPA and Bob Quinn wouldn't be wrong. A player like Christian McCaffrey or Corey Davis could arguably help the team, long-term, more than the top defensive player on the board when the Lions are on the clock.

@Justin_Rogers Who do you want the Lions to draft in the first round?

— bear grills (@BallDaynNight) April 24, 2017

I've said this before, but it bears repeating, I want the Lions to draft the best talker capable of making an impact, regardless of position. A good talker who doesn't play or isn't good, isn't helpful. A good player who doesn't talk, that's great for fans, but doesn't make my job any easier. Give me any player who is an honest, critical thinker and contributes on the field early and I'll be happy.

Kenny Golladay

@Justin_Rogers From FB: "best cb and wr options after rd 3 that fit the lions scheme"

— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 24, 2017

At wide receiver, I really like Northern Illinois' Kenny Golladay. He brings much-needed size, at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, with well-rounded athleticism and quality college production, albeit against a lower level of competition. He'd be a nice get in the fourth round.

At cornerback, there's two schools of thought. You can grab a prospect like Quandre Diggs, who played for a big-time program, but lacks ideal measurables. Or you can take a raw athlete with a loaded tool box and try to develop them.

He might not make it to the fourth round, but give me Central Florida's Shaquill Griffin for the athlete. He's fast, an explosive leaper and has a good frame at 6-foot, 194 pounds. His measurables compare favorably with Darius Slay's coming out of college. They're actually slightly better.

If you want to go deep than that, Houston's Brandon Wilson is intriguing. A more compact 5-foot-11, 200-pounder, he can play the nickel and return kicks.

@Justin_Rogers Is this your least favorite week of the year?

— Mike (@BergeyMbergey) April 24, 2017

It's certainly better than the end of training camp, where you feel you've written every story three different ways and you're mentally limping to the start of the regular season. As mentioned above, this is a long week, but there's enough intrigue and fresh information to keep me engaged.

@Justin_Rogers Does the Florida DT now fall off the Lions board?

— ronald Chase (@CoachChase1) April 24, 2017

In case you missed it, Caleb Brantley has been charged with punching a woman in the face, knocking her unconscious. It's the Joe Mixon debate all over again, but this incident is fresh and there isn't a video out there. While I respect the concept of innocent until proven guilty, this occurred in public and it doesn't look good. I cannot imagine the Lions drafting the otherwise talented defensive lineman.

@Justin_Rogers Is there a dark-horse candidate for most improved lion that you have for 2017?

— Shameek Mohile (@shamshammgod) April 24, 2017

Everyone has been focused on Miles Killebrew, and understandably so given how the young safety finished last season. Linebacker Antwione Williams is another popular choice. He has an ideal frame for the strongside job and flashed serious potential in limited opportunities last year.

But what about Graham Glasgow?

Sure, he was adequate last year, playing guard for the first time in a while, but there was also plenty of inconsistency in his game. With a year to adjust to the speed and strength of NFL defensive lineman, plus a full offseason to prep for his position as opposed to the pre-draft process, there's plenty of opportunity for growth. And with Taylor Decker and Travis Swanson on his shoulders, Glasgow is in a good position to thrive.

@Justin_Rogers Odds of the Lions trading down into the No. 25 (Hou) or No. 26 (Sea) range, swapping Lions 4th for either team's 3d Rd pick, & taking Davis?

— Jake (@JFK_711) April 24, 2017

I'll put it at 2.4 percent because that's a very specific set of circumstances. Listen, you've set up a plausible trade-down scenario. The Texans are likely in the market for a QB and the Seahawks could conceivably want to secure a specific offensive lineman still on the board. Jarrad Davis fills a need and fits the athletic and character profile the Lions like. It all makes too much sense.

@Justin_Rogers What could the Lions use to prevent an OQB% of 70+% for this year, and what players in the draft would help that?

— Dave Reimink (@DaveReimink) April 24, 2017

First and foremost, if the Lions want to trim the percentage of passes completed against them, they have to be more aggressive in coverage. I understand the logic of conceding underneath throws and preventing big plays, but the team does it to an extreme.

On the outside the team could add a big, physical cornerback with good recovery speed. But the bigger area for improvement is inside. Whether it's the nickel cornerback or one of the linebackers, the Lions have to find players who aren't easy targets for opposing passers to pick on throughout the course of game.

Finally, an improved pass rush would help as well, especially with disrupting the timing intermediate and deep throws.

@Justin_Rogers will the lions ever win another playoff game in my life time. I'm 63

— SG (@itsgood333) April 24, 2017

I'm going to need the results of your most recent physical to better assess your long-term health outlook.

David Njoku

@Justin_Rogers What draft pick at 21 would be a total disaster?

— Austin Kammeraad (@SuperStintendo) April 24, 2017

David Njoku, plain and simple.

I don't care how talented the Miami product is, he plays tight end, and Lions fans aren't going to listen to any logic here. While I could see the fit if O.J. Howard magically slid to the Lions at No. 21, Njoku's skill set runs parallel to Eric Ebron's strenghs and weaknesses.

@Justin_Rogers Why are most predictions for the Lions to finish below .500 this season? History? Defense questions? I don't get it

— RedneckLionsFan (@RedneckLionsFan) April 24, 2017

It's April. You shouldn't be reading predictions, let alone taking them seriously.