Tim and Mike: How impactful will the Lions' draft class be in 2013?

Posted May 1, 2013

Tim Twentyman and Mike O'Hara discuss which of the Lions nine picks was a sleeper, which player was the safest selection and whether Tim Tebow could find his way to Detroit

The dust hadn’t settled on the draft, and the grades were barely in before the Jets grabbed headlines by releasing Tim Tebow. Should the Lions have any interest?

Mike: First we have to define by what is meant by interest. If it means reading the papers and scrolling the Internet to read the news of the day – from world events to local politics to the gossip columns – then sure, there’s interest in Tebow.

But if the issue is whether to sign Tebow to compete for a job at quarterback, then turn the page or keep scrolling the Internet. There is nothing Tebow does as a quarterback on a consistent basis that can help the Lions.

Tim: I’m with you. Unless he’s being signed as a tight end, I’m not interested.

He certainly wouldn’t compete for a starting spot. And contend that he wouldn’t win either of the backup roles.

The Lions’ offense has a ton of playmakers – Megatron, Reggie Bush, Nate Burleson, Ryan Broyles, ect. -- and the job of the quarterback in this offense is to deliver the football to those weapons. Isn’t that where Tebow’s game is deficient?

I’ll pass.

Now that we've covered that, let's looking back at the Lions draft for a moment.

Give me a Lions sleeper pick.

Mike: My sleeper pick is hiding in plain sight.

It’s Ziggy Ansah.

I know choosing Ansah might sound strange. In fact, there’s no “might” about it. It is outright strange to call a first-round pick a sleeper. Most people will think I can make a better argument for aliens from Pluto invading Ford Field.

But the reason to pick Ansah is because of the divided opinions for a player drafted that high. He’s viewed as the “boom or bust” pick of the Lions’ draft, and perhaps the entire first round, because he has played only three years of football.

Ansah is a great athlete. If he contributes at a decent level – 7-10 sacks his first year– he’ll have met reasonable expectations for a rookie and exceeded what the doubters have predicted.

Your turn on this one.

Corey FullerWR Corey Fuller (Photo: AP Images)

Tim: I have to admit I wasn’t expecting Ansah from you, but I will agree that you’re strange.

To me, Devin Taylor has sleeper written all over him, with his length and athleticism, but I’m going with sixth-round pick Corey Fuller.

Like Ansah, the former Virginia Tech receiver doesn't have a whole lot of experience going from track star to football. However, his size and speed is exactly what the Lions are looking for opposite Calvin Johnson.

With Johnson and some of the other weapons employed by the Lions, Fuller could find some opportunities to make plays down the field.

He also has the benefit of a strong-armed quarterback in Stafford, who is very good at ad-libbing to make plays down the field.

The Lions filled a lot of needs in this draft, who was the safest pick Martin Mayhew made?

Mike: We might agree on this one – and relax, it doesn’t make you strange.

Larry Warford, the guard from Kentucky, is the safest pick, and not because he’s built like a quarter-ton, fire-resistant safe. He doesn’t weigh that much, but he’s just as sturdy.

Warford is built to play right guard. He locked down that territory at Kentucky against some of the toughest defensive tackles in the SEC. He plays with power, and that’s what the Lions should be looking for from him at right guard. The center and left guard can pull and do all the fancy stuff.

Warford’s job is to keep the rush out of Matthew Stafford’s face.

Tim: I like the Warford pick, too. He’s a road-grader at a position of need.

I’d also add tight end Michael Williams to the list of safe picks.

Williams -- not to be confused with a certain 2005 draft pick -- is a block-first tight end that fits a very specific need in the offense. He figures in nicely at the H-back role once filled by Riley Reiff and Will Heller in Scott Linehan’s offense. He can also be used on the line of scrimmage and in short-yardage and goal-line situations.

He is also coming to the NFL from the SEC and Alabama, where he was a four-year player. I like guys from great programs, who can come in right away and be ready to play and contribute. He was a great value pick in the seventh round for what he provides.

Okay, Mike, let’s talk impact. How impactful is this group of rookies in 2013?

Ziggy AnsahDE Ziggy Ansah

Mike: If impact is judged by stats, it will come from the top – sacks by Ansah and picks by cornerback Darius Slay, the second-round pick whom we haven’t mentioned.

To me, a better indicator will be the won-lost record. If they get realistic production from the draft picks – which includes Warford holding firm at right guard and even Sam Martin being an upgrade at punter – they’ll have impact.

Everything this season will be judged by winning. That includes the draft.

Tim: These players have an impact if they start at a position of need and make the Lions better. That translates to wins in my book.

All three guys at the top could start. Sam Martin likely wins the punting job. Devin Taylor, Corey Fuller and Michael Williams have a shot to be rotational players with a role.

Let’s put it this way: the Lions get more impact from this class than they did in 2012. It probably translates to more wins, too.