Detroit Lions 2012 NFL Draft Grades
The Detroit Lions took a major step forward in 2011 by finishing with a solid 10-6 record and reaching the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
Progress was nice to see, but they could have the Super Bowl on their mind in 2012 with the right changes on both sides of the ball. Let’s see how their 2012 draft class figures into the equation:
Round 1 (Pick 23) - Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Reiff is a stud left tackle who slipped about 10 spots further than he should have. Detroit wanted an elite corner, but Reiff fell into their lap and they could use him. Excellent value at the spot they picked at, and it filled a need, also.
Round 2 (Pick 54) - Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
Detroit didn’t necessarily need Broyles here, but he was hard to pass up. Nate Burleson is aging, so Broyles will be nice to slide in as their second or third option eventually, along with Titus Yound and Megatron. He’s still recovering from a torn ACL, though, otherwise this grade may have been a little higher.
Round 3 (Pick 85) - Dwight “Bill” Bentley, CB, Louisiana-Lafayette
They missed out on a stud corner with their first two picks, but they get a capable one here in the third. Bentley is quick and covers well. In a Jim Schwartz defense, he’ll learn and grow. He should be able to step up and play as the nickel corner early.
Round 4 (Pick 125) - Ronnell Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
Lewis slipped because he doesn’t yet have a true position at the next level, but I don’t think that will end up being an issue. He’s talented and athletic, and he’ll benefit from playing behind a stacked defensive line. He could start right away, making him a very nice steal in the fourth.
Round 5 (Pick 138) – Tahir Whitehead, OLB, Temple
Athletic linebacker who hits hard, but not a guy who is going to compete for a starting job right away. He should add muscle and explosiveness to the special teams unit, however.
Round 5 (Pick 148) – Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion
This is a small school talent reach after missing on corner earlier. Still, Greenwood has a nice combo of size and speed, so he has a real shot at making the final roster.
Round 6 (Pick 196) – Jonte Green, DB, New Mexico State
Green is versatile and will compete for a spot while trying to latch on as a special teamer. Detroit takes a shot on him here to add to their overall depth at secondary.
Round 7 (Pick 223) – Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
Lewis was the leader of the Oklahoma tackler, and exhibited sound tackling and solid athletic ability. He’s a major steal this late in the draft, although he’ll probably have to excel on special teams to save himself a spot on the team in 2012.
Detroit added a stud offensive tackle, a quality weapon at wide receiver, and a bunch of solid defensive options that could compete for starting spots – including a tremendous steal in Lewis to end the draft. They did miss out on getting a new running back that isn’t always hurt, so it wasn’t a perfect draft.
Overall Grade: A