Detroit Lions NFL Draft Fantasy Preview
Can A New Regime In Motown Get The Lions Back To The Playoffs?
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After another ho-hum performance in 2017 for the Detroit Lions, you had to assume that some changes would take place. Enter Matt Patricia and his pedigree for winning from New England. He will likely try to install a more balanced attack on offense while he focuses his efforts mainly on the defensive side of the ball.
Matt Stafford goes unheralded each year in Fantasy circles, but he continues to pour in QB1 numbers year in and year out. With the receiving core that he has at his disposal with Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay, Stafford should once again be a QB drafted as a low-end QB1. The passing attack for the Lions is one that stays fairly consistent; both Tate and Jones are solid WR2 picks going into the 2018 season.
The Lions also tried to beef up their running game by bringing in LeGarrette Blount this offseason but expect for them to look at the position in the draft as well. Blount could be the bruising back that team has been looking for to cement games late. That has been the issue for the Lions in recent seasons, the inability to finish games. I expect that will change under the leadership of Patricia.
Team Needs: DE, TE, RB
Projected Top Three Picks
First Round: Harold Landry, DE Boston College
Second Round: Sony Michel, RB Georgia
Third Round: Ian Thomas, TE Indiana
Even with bringing back Ziggy Ansah for another season, the Lions have a pressing need to develop another pass rusher on this defense. Harold Landry could be just that guy. He is a slight bit small for the position, but he has amazing length. His initial burst is dangerous, as it can get him around the edge fairly quickly. He has the skillset to be an immediate impact player at the pro level, but if he can develop a counter move, he will likely become a pro-bowl caliber pass rusher for years to come.
There is a chance that he could get selected at the tail end of the first round, but if the Lions are fortunate enough to get Sony Michel with their second pick, it is a definite win. Michel is built for the NFL with his vision, burst and physicality all being well above average. He has a knack for creating big plays with his cutting ability, but he is more instinctual as a north-south type of back. His size, ability to pass protect and catch out of the backfield all but ensures him a place in the backfield on day one. He is worth a look in Fantasy drafts in the middle rounds, as he has the upside to have a Kareem Hunt type of season in 2018. You should expect similar numbers to that of a Dion Lewis as he splits time with Blount in his rookie season.
With the departure of Eric Ebron, the Lions are looking to start over at the tight end position. Selecting Ian Thomas brings in a guy with similar skills and traits to Ebron. He fills out like a player that could be on the field for all three downs. He could develop into a very sound blocker, while also giving you a weapon in the passing game that separates from defenders as he gets out of his breaks. If he improves his hands, you are looking at a very solid and dependable player that the Lions will be able to count on in this offense. He won’t have much appeal in redraft leagues in 2018, but watch out for his value in the near future in Dynasty formats.
Photo credit: AP Images/Matt Ludtke
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