It’s been a few days since the NFL Draft too place in New York City Music Hall, and we’ve had some time to digest the draft, let’s see if the collective reaction was reasonable.
First we must assess the Detroit Lions’ plan for Ryan Broyles now and going forward. As it currently stands, he comes in as the fourth receiver on the depth chart. It’s important to note that the Lions used three-, four- and five-receiver sets on 74.8 percent of their offensive snaps last season, so he should see playing time immediately. Plus, if any of the Lions’ receivers get banged up, the versatile Broyles can step in without a significant drop-off in production.
There’s also a possibility he could win the punt return job.
The obvious long-term vision is he’ll replace Nate Burleson, who despite having three years remaining on his contract, turns 31 in August. If Broyles produces, he could push Burleson out the door sooner than later.
Compare Broyles’ situation with that of first-round pick Riley Reiff. The former Iowa offensive lineman joins Detroit as a reserve, and whether he sees any meaningful playing time this season will depend on either an injury or a failure to produce by someone in front of him.
Had Detroit drafted Peter Konz in the second round, there’s little chance he would have left the sideline as a rookie. Center Dominic Raiola and guards Stephen Peterman and Rob Sims haven’t missed a game in two seasons.
Vinny Curry and Lavonte David would also have been buried behind incumbent starters, seeing only situational snaps and special teams action in their first year.
And as much as we’ve been told the Lions’ secondary is a mess, it’s difficult to believe any defensive back available in the second round was going to unseat Chris Houston or Aaron Berry as the starting corners.
A reasonable argument is that the Lions could have strengthened their nickel package — an important concept in the pass-happy NFL — but the team believes they were able to do that in the third round with the addition of Louisiana Lafayette cornerback Bill Bentley.
If you’re still struggling to make sense of the pick. Here’s a final angle to consider from Greg Cosell, a man who breaks down game tape for a living as the producer of NFL films
When you widen the lens, the bigger picture comes into focus. This team is built around arguably the best young passer in the NFL, Matthew Stafford. With that as the overriding principle, the offensive side of the ball can never be allowed to suffer due to neglect. If that happened, the Lions could not compete, no matter how much they fortify the defense. It’s a very similar philosophy to what Bill Polian employed with the Colts once he drafted Peyton Manning. You always make sure the offense has high-level players, especially at the receiver position. You take Broyles in the second round not only because is he a very good player, but also because he becomes another complementary piece that helps Stafford — and by extension the entire team — remain a playoff and Super Bowl contender. It’s the longer view, and the correct one.
360 Draft expert Jim H on The Sports Truth Show