Now that the 2012 NFL Draft is over, we're profiling each team's draft. Who were the steals? Who were the reaches? We continue with the Detroit Lions.
The Lions are a team on the rise with great talent at key positions. QB Matthew Stafford finally stayed healthy for an entire season and showed he was worth the first overall pick in 2009. His partner in the Lion's aerial attack, Calvin Johnson, was the biggest beneficiary of Stafford's continued health. Johnson finished the season just short of hundred catches and the most receiving yards of any WR in the NFL. Because of this tandem, Detroit was able to outgun most of the NFL and will continue to do so for many years.
Defense was their biggest problem. While there has been a clear investment in the defensive line, the linebackers and secondary weren't as impressive. The Lions struggled to stop teams in all phases finishing 23rd in scoring, rush yards allowed, total yards allowed, and 22nd in passing yards allowed. The defense was also their undoing once they entered the playoffs, falling to the Saints in the wildcard.
The Lions made moves to get help to the defense by spending six picks in 2012 on defense, three each at DB and LB. Outside their first pick, OT Riley Reiff, the Lions showed they weren't afraid to take risks on prospects. From injuries (Broyles and LB Travis Lewis), tweeners (OLB Ronnell Lewis), or simply taking risks on raw talent (Whitehead,Greenwood, Green), the Lions had their guys and they went after them.
Questionable Pick: WR Ryan Broyles, Round 2, pick 54
We already addressed the Lion's penchant for taking risks this year, so we won't fault them for looking past his recent injury. Broyles was truly talented before his ACL tear and should he come back from it he will probably be the most talented WR on the roster outside Johnson. Whats most questionable about the pick is with such a deep draft at the position and an offense already running on all cylinders, did they need another offensive weapons so early? Wouldn't they have been better off improving the defense with earlier picks and used one of their later ones on a WR prospect?
Late-Round Steal: Chris Greenwood, Round 5, pick 148
Greenwood looked like a Lion amongst cubs at Division III Albion. He's an athletic freak, running a 4.3 40 at 6'1'' 193lbs and with some seasoning he could be the boundry corner they've been looking for to matchup with bigger WRs. He has a big jump in talent and competition level to contend with, but he has the measurables worth developing while also playing special teams.