The Lions added a running back and a safety in the second and third rounds of the 2018 NFL draft.
Experts grade the Detroit Lions’ picks on Day 2 of the NFL Draft of Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson and Louisiana-Lafayette safety Tracy Walker.
Andy Benoit, Sports Illustrated
On Kerryon Johnson: The Lions are determined to inject some life and consistency into what’s been a mostly nonexistent ground game. After taking Arkansas center Frank Ragnow in Round 1, they go with a power-running back in Round 2. Matthew Stafford is one of the NFL’s most respected QBs, and with a ground game to balance the offense, he has a chance to now become a line-of-scrimmage-audibling field general that outsiders can finally appreciate. Grade: B
On Tracy Walker: Tavon Wilson, Glover Quin and Miles Killebrew all hit free agency in 2020. Walker can develop behind them for now, with the understanding that he could contribute in select packages early on. Matt Patricia did a lot with safety-heavy groupings in New England. You get more schematic flexibility that way. Grade: B
Mel Kiper, ESPN
The Lions definitely needed to take a running back -- they finished last in rushing yards and yards per rush last season – but Auburn's Kerryon Johnson was my ninth-ranked back, and Detroit took him at pick 43. That's high. To make matters worse, the Lions traded up eight spots and forfeited pick 117 to get him. Look, he's a bigger, athletic back, but can he be a three-down player? That's what Detroit needs. I'm not sold. He also dealt with a few injuries in college.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
On Kerryon Johnson: I love this pick. The Lions have their lead runner. He will be a big-time producer on the ground. Grade: A
On Tracy Walker: Matt Patricia likes back end players with versatility and this kid has it. That's a good pick. Grade: B
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
On Kerryon Johnson: The Lions get a back with a good combination of power and explosiveness with the hopes he can be a three-down option. With LeGarrette Blount adding to Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick, Johnson has a good chance to trump all three for heavy touches.
On Tracy Walker: The Lions reach a little for a free safety with size, but former Pro Bowler Glover Quinn is 32, and Walker shares many of the same traits as an active, rangy cover man.
Chad Reuter, NFL.com
Day 1 grade: A
Day 2 grade: C
Overall grade: B+
The skinny: Detroit got stronger in the middle by picking Frank Ragnow, who could play guard for now, or move to center if needed. Either way, he'll move the line of scrimmage. Matthew Stafford feels better already. The Lions were so interested in Kerryon Johnson that they gave up a fourth-round pick to move up eight spots. That's marginal value, though I expect Johnson will be a good back. Tracy Walker was picked two rounds earlier than expected, but he has the skills to become a starter in the league.