As they prepare for this year’s draft, the Lions shouldn’t mind that they’ll be following a tough act – their own.
They got high marks all season for the performance of their rookie class, and accolades continue in the offseason.
Mel Kiper, ESPN’s well known draft analyst, gave the Lions the only A when he re-graded the draft picks for all 32 teams based on performance during the season.
Kiper gave the Lions a B in his post-draft grades and boosted the mark to an A in his re-grading system that gives a bonus for performances from undrafted free agents. The Lions got significant contributions from tight end Joseph Fauria and offensive tackle
"Great draft, especially when you include the calls made on Day 3 to snag free agents, which we do here," Kiper wrote.
Kiper noted that Ansah led all rookies with eight sacks, and that the Lions bypassed taking cornerback Dee Milliner with the fifth pick overall to take Ansah. Milliner struggled.
"Warford was a stud," Kiper wrote.
"The draft doesn’t end at Mr. Irrelevant, and Detroit showed why," Kiper wrote, in crediting the Lions for acting quickly to sign Fauria and Waddle.
Elsewhere in the NFC North, the Packers got a B after the draft and another B in Kiper’s re-grade, the Vikings – with three first-round picks – were downgraded from a B to a C , and the Bears got a slight upgrade from C to B.
The San Diego Chargers got the second highest re-grade with an A-. The Buffalo Bills got the biggest jump, from C- to B, and the Miami Dolphins had the biggest decline, from B- to D .