One more day until the death march that is draftmas ends. I would like to give the detroitlionpodcast.com editors a shout out, and some reassurance as we head to the finish line. The addition to the mix today is a list of predictions that I may or may not actually think will happen, but I definitely think could happen. Last year these predictions were hit and miss. For example, I said nobody would draft Myles Jack in the first round, while many outlets still had him going in the top five. I also said nobody would draft Jaylon Smith at all. Smith then went to the Cowboys in the second round of the draft and Jack was the Jaguars second round selection. You win some and you lose some every draftmas.
Seven Mad Draftmas Predictions
OJ Howard slips out of the top 20.
Malik Hooker will not be the first corner off the board, even with Conley’s recent legal troubles.
Reuben Foster falls out of the top 20.
Johnathan Allen slips out of the top ten.
Carl Lawson goes in the first round.
Takkarist McKinley goes top 10.
Joe Mixon will find a home in the first round.
Six Draftmas Subplots
- What is Curtis Samuel? There is a lot of buzz around what position teams see Curtis Samuel playing. The kid played a few snaps at Ohio State coming out of the backfield, and suddenly everyone thinks he’s a running back?
- How high can a college situational pass rusher go? Tim Williams was not even a starter in the Alabama base defense. At one point he had placed himself in the first round of virtually every mock. Add some off the field issues, and you’ve got all the earmarks of a falling player.
- Teez Tabor has only one hole in his game. He’s incredibly slow. He’s too slow for some teams to consider him a coverage linebacker. Most positions don’t rely on their 40-time for survival, but Tabor would have to be perfect on every play not to give up an incredible number of touchdowns.
- Nathan Peterman might end up being the best quarterback in this draft. He draws comparisons to Kirk Cousins and it is not hard to see why. If I were building a franchise from scratch, would I want the ultra-athletic kid or the one that runs the offense and takes care of the ball? I think I would strongly consider Peterman in the second over any of the first round options.
- Listfranc surgery cost Fabian Moreau the season, and then a torn pectoral cost him the offseason. How many injuries does it take to put a first round talent into day three at a loaded position? We will find out whether he hit that threshold this weekend.
- Adam Shaheen has played against half decent competition for a grand total of one practice week in Mobile. It was a very good practice week, but how much stock can you put in that? He is a big kid, but not a great blocker. He’s not particularly fast, or jumpy either. He is an interesting prospect but in the second round?
Five Day Three Draftmas Gems
Jeremy Sprinkle, TE, Arkansas
Sprinkle is a prototype Y tight end. He is both a skilled blocker and competent red zone threat. If the Lions are more interested in keeping Ebron than replacing him, Sprinkle is the type of tight end that they might look for in the later rounds. His off the field shenanigans cost him the opportunity to play in his final bowl game and likely made the conversations he had with teams uncomfortable. Nobody likes a shoplifter.
Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo
Roberts is another tight end bucking the trend of college football producing bulked up wide receivers. He was the All-MAC first team tight end in 2016, with 16 touchdowns. at 6’4″ 270lbs, Roberts is already ideal size for an NFL tight end but is also horrifyingly slow. Lions fans may remember the dancing days of Joe Fuaria, and Roberts has that same plodding gait. His stance is a little odd, and he needs to work on his blocking technique, but Roberts could be a solid second tight end.
Eric Saubert TE, Drake
Yes, Drake is a real school. He made the All-Pioneer team in 2016. His speed and athleticism are beautiful to watch, but he doesn’t have great hands. This is the biggest high ceiling/low floor pick at the tight end position in this year’s NFL draft. He makes Adam Shaheen look safe. There are times where his blocking looks great, and times where he looks like he’s dry humping a bear. he makes acrobatic catches and then drops easy ones. If he takes advantage of coaching on the practice squad for a season, he may be a shockingly good player in 2018.
Jarron Jones, DT, Notre Dame
Jones is a former basketball player who is now a 316 lb Menace to opposing offenses. His athleticism is an exciting prospect for a defensive line coach to sink their claws into. In a weak defensive tackle class, it is possible that Jones jumps into the third round, but he belongs on day three. He is inconsistent, top heavy, and can be redirected too easily in his rush by powerful offensive linemen. His first step though is magical, and many of his faults can be coached if he is willing to put the work in,
Tanzel Smart, DT Tulane
Smart is a three technique with a short and stout body. Watching him take on blocks is beautiful. his feet and hands never stop moving as he maneuvers himself to get where he needs to be. His strength leaves a lot to be desired though, limiting him to passing downs as a rookie. His short arms make fighting off blocks and double teams in the run game more difficult than it needs to be. he does, however, recognize and attack screen plays very well, and may be able to stay in the league as a sub package pass rusher long term.
Four Mock Drafts:
Peter King of mmqb.com gave the Lions David Njoku with the 21st pick of the 2017 draft. Colin Becht of si.com gave the Lions T.J. Watt. Chris Burke, also of si.com, selected Taco Charlton. Jeff Risdon of several team wire sites and realgm.com also gave the Lions T.J. Watt. That gives us the following running totals with only one more day of calculations to go:
- Njoku 4
- Watt 4
- Charlton 3
- Davis 2
- Willis 1
- Foster 1
- Reddick 1
Three Draftmas snack foods
Some people like dipping things in a less spicy substance than I have been offering. These are three of my favorite dips. I don’t make them as often as I do salsas, but they taste great.
- A block of cream cheese
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1 can of artichoke hearts, chopped
- 4 green onions
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- A dash of tabasco
- A dash of Worcestershire sauce
- In a bowl beat the cream cheese and mayo together until it’s smooth.
- Add the rest of that, and beat it until it’s smooth.
- Pour it into a pie plate, or shallow Gratin dish and bake it at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until it bubbles and the top is golden brown. Best served hot.
Just make Chipotle’s Guacamole recipe. It’s great.
- 1 package of cream cheese, softened (that means leave it out of the fridge overnight)
- 1/2 cup fresh salsa (any of the ones I have given will work)
- 1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese, divided
- 1 16-ounce can of your favorite bean medley. Straight kidney or black beans will also work.
- 1/3 cup green onions, sliced
- Combine the cream cheese and salsa, mix it with a spoon.
- Spread it on the bottom of a microwaveable 9-inch pie plate.
- Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese.
- Spoon the beans in a layer.
- Top that with the onions and the rest of the cheese.
- Cover it with plastic wrap, poke a couple vents in the wrap, and heat it for 2 min rotate the dish and repeat.
- Remove the wrap, heat it for 1 min or until the cheese is fully melted. Let it cool a bit before you dip.
Two First Round Draftmas Busts
Patrick Mahomes and Davis Webb will bust. They are both strong-armed quarterbacks who have all the tools. They both look like the prototype NFL quarterback with ideal height, and more than enough mass to take hits. The problem with these two players is that they come from the air raid offense pioneered by Texas Tech’s Mike Leach. No quarterback has ever been drafted by from a college team running that offense and succeeded in the NFL. That offense is about as far from a pro style as can be. The transition is like taking all of your high school classes in English and being handed a SAT exam in Mandarin.
One Inconvenient Draftmas Truth
The draft doesn’t greatly affect the season in which it is played. There are free agents available equal to almost every pick taken beyond the second round. Even most of the players in the second round will be no better in their first season than other second string players. The Lions got a lot of use from their rookie class last year because they had horrifyingly inept depth. Bob Quinn has changed that significantly and we should not expect the same level of immediate impact in 2017.