For the last two seasons following the NFL Draft, executive producer of NFL Matchup and senior producer at NFL Films for 34 years, Greg Cosell, has been kind enough to break down the Lions' draft picks.
Cosell’s opinions are based on hours and hours spent watching film of these players. Cosell is one of the most honest evaluators in the business and is well respected among NFL circles.
Here’s what he had to say about the Lions' haul over the weekend:
Round 1 (10)
Cosell: “You’re talking about a very athletic kid. He’s a very smart mover. He’s got natural athleticism. He looks like a big wide receiver. When you watch him, you clearly see he has the ability to be a multidimensional, position versatile, multiple chess piece.
“He’s extremely athletic. If you just look at his touchdown against the University of Miami, a 71-yard touchdown, he caught a 10-yard pass and outran the secondary. You saw him run what’s hugely viewed as wide receiver routes – skinny posts, vertical seams and crossers. He ran bubble screens as well. He’s a movement guy and I’m sure when (the Lions) got to that point in the draft he was probably the highest rated guy on their board and they saw him as a guy who would take their offense to a higher level."
Round 2 (40)
Cosell: “He was one of my favorite guys to watch on film. I don’t know the kid, but the more I watched, the more I saw explosive movement. I think he has outstanding closing burst and speed. You can make an argument he’s as complete a linebacker in this draft class with the ability to play both on the ball and off the line of scrimmage.
“I really like Kyle Van Noy. I thought he was an excellent athlete, with deceptively quick explosiveness and movement. Great balance. Great body control. Not overly physical, but didn’t lack physicality. I saw him a lot like a Chad Greenway (Vikings). I thought he could be that kind of player."
Round 3 (76) Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
Cosell: “I think at this point in time, and you always have to understand these guys are prospects and they’re going to end up in NFL weight rooms and NFL condition programs, but I think at this time Swanson is more of a movement and finesse player than a physical power player. He’s going to have to get stronger.
“I think he has the kind of efficient movement and assignment discipline to be very effective in the zone run game. I saw an efficient player with excellent discipline. I didn’t think there were any outstanding traits, but I think guys like Swanson can become efficient, quality NFL players.”
Round 4 (133)
Cosell: “He’s a guy I really liked on film. The problem is he’s 5-9 ½. But he’s very, very fluid. He has very smooth hips. He’s got very easy change of direction. He was able to plant and drive really quickly in off coverage. He had some quick twitch to him. He’s very tough-minded. I liked his playing personality. He’s physical. His only limitation is his size. He’s a feisty competitive kid with excellent movement, but he’s 5-9 ½. He’s a lesser version of Jason Verrett (first round pick out of TCU by San Diego)
Round 6 (189) TJ Jones, WR, Notre Dame
Cosell: “I like TJ Jones. I thought he was one of the best slot prospects in this draft. I thought he had quick feet and a strong sense of route running. He was very quick in and out of breaks. I thought he showed the ability to separate with burst on intermediate routes. He’s a quickness more than a speed wideout, but he’s got light feet.
"Every once in a while he’ll get vertical if there were double moves involved, but he’s not going to run by people, but (the Lions) know that. That’s not why he was drafted. I kind of like TJ Jones. I saw some similarities to someone like Doug Baldwin (Seattle slot receiver). If he’s Doug Baldwin he’s pretty good.
"It’ll be interesting to see how they see him with