Know Your Opponent: Grading Detroit Lions Draft

Parker Hurley
BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 13: T.J. Hockenson #38 of the Iowa Hawkeyes runs for a touchdown against the Indiana Hossiers at Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2018 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 13: T.J. Hockenson #38 of the Iowa Hawkeyes runs for a touchdown against the Indiana Hossiers at Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2018 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Who are the draft picks that the Chicago Bears will face for the next four years or longer on the Detroit Lions?

The NFL draft is always about more than just adding to your team. The opposition gets their swing at it too. So while the Chicago Bears are NFC North Champions, they have to look back at this draft and remember that the other teams in the division got better and are now targeting them.

This started with the Detroit Lions, who had a top ten pick this year. Who did the Lions add and how can the Bears matchup with these players?

Round 1, Pick 8: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

The Lions took one of the safest players in the entire draft when they selected Hockenson with the eighth overall pick. Hockenson is the perfect blend of blocking and pass catching reliability that the team needs. It also separates him from Eric Ebron comparisons.

Still, the Hockenson pick says one thing, they want to run the ball. This has been their sentiment since Matt Patricia took over. In his first draft, he drafted a center in the first round, traded up for Kerryon Johnson, traded Golden Tate and traded for Snacks Harrison. They gave Jesse James a huge payday and he clearly slots in as the second tight end on the roster. With the addition of Hockenson, the statement has been made. The Bears will have to stop the run.

Round 2, Pick No. 43: Jahlani Tavai, LB, Hawaii

A lot of people speculated that this was too high to look at Tavai, but word is that the Patriots were interested and Patricia knew it. Still, Tavia better be a hit because Patricia cannot just keep riding off of Belichecks reputation with no wins behind it.

Tavia is a coverage player who can matchup specific and follow an athlete such as Trey Burton around. Still, injuries are why many saw it as a reach. Tavai has a great chance to get on the field next season, as he will compete with Devon Kennard and Christian Jones. That may be another reason they felt so desperate to make the pick.

Round 3, Pick No. 81: Will Harris, S, Boston College

Harris is another player who can be matchup specific against tight ends and running backs. He is powerful downhill against the run, and is fluid space, but is a player who is good at everything, but not overly exceptional at anything. With Quandree Diggs and Tavon Wilson in the secondary, he could easily get on the field as a rookie.

Round 4, Pick No. 117: Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson

Bryant is the only Clemson starter on their defensive line that didn’t get taken in the first round. He gets a bit underlooked because of the talent around him, but also has injury questions, like Tavai. Still, on the field, he has great length and effort to finish plays. As a rookie, he should be able to give high energy rotational snaps with Romeo Okwara and Trey Flowers.

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Round 5, Pick No. 146: Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State

Many saw Oruwariye going higher, but he only has one season of true starter experience. With Justin Coleman in the slot and Darius Slay on the other side, Orwariye is going to compete for outside starter snaps.

Round 6, Pick No. 184: Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion

Fulgham profiles as a poor-mans Marvin Jones. The hope here is that a year or two with Jones, and potentially on the practice squad could do him pretty well.

Round 6, Pick No. 186: Ty Johnson, RB, Maryland

Ty Johnson is a big play back who would be used in a complementary role. He will cut into Kerryon Johnson’s role a bit, but will also be insurance for Theo Riddick.

Round 7, Pick No. 224: Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia

After adding Hockenson, James and already having Michael Roberts, the Lions likely want to build up the strength of an. upside tight end on the practice squad.

Round 7, Pick No. 229: PJ Johnson, DT, Arizona

The Lions started by setting the tone as a running offense and added a run stuffer to end it. Johnson is likely destined for the practice squad to develop behind Harrison, DaShawn Hand, and A’Shawn Robinson

Final Verdict: 

The amount of players who could make an impact next year may be more of an indictment on their roster than it is their drafting. Still, they filled holes, stuck to their identity and drafted for it. They are going to be a run-heavy attack next season, and the Bears will need to be ready.