Senior producer of NFL Matchup and senior producer at NFL Films, Greg Cosell, has been kind enough to break down the Lions' draft picks for detroitlions.com the past four seasons, and has agreed to do so for a fifth year.
Cosell's opinions are based on hours and hours spent watching the All-22 film and evaluating these players. This year, he did evaluations on 280 players. Cosell is one of the most honest evaluators in the business, and is well respected among NFL circles.
You can follow him on Twitter at @gregcosell.
Here's what he had to say about the Lions' 2017 Draft Class:
Note: Cosell didn't see enough tape of CB Jamal Agnew, DT Jeremiah Ledbetter or DE Pat O'Connor to give a thorough evaluation for this story.
Round 1 (21) Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
Cosell: "I really like Davis. I think he's physical. He's explosive. He's mentally tough. He's highly competitive. I said in my notes that he best profiles as a 4-3 WILL or MIKE depending on the team's scheme and surrounding personnel.
"His physical toughness in the box, his ability to play inside out with plus athleticism and range are really strong. But there's a physicality and toughness to his game that stands out all the time. He plays downhill with aggression. He blew up Kentucky center Jon Toth a number of times. He blew up Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson when they were working to the second level to block.
"I think he's athletic enough to run the seam with tight ends and inside slot receivers. He was used as a blitzer at times. I think he has a chance to be a really, really good NFL linebacker. I think he's a really, really good prospect."
Round 2 (53) Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
Cosell: "Tabor has extensive experience playing both press-man and off coverage. When you play press-man, that experience is always a good foundation when you transition to the NFL.
"The issue with Tabor is if you let the tape be your guide, rather than his timed speed, then you see a quality prospect who can be effective in both man and zone. The Lions obviously felt that way because I made the point that the evaluation of Tabor will almost purely be a function of how teams view his timed speed. Some teams that will be a negative. It was obviously not for the Lions.
"I think he's a very solid corner when you watch him on tape. I think he used his hands effectively when he played press. I though in particular he played press very well to the boundary, where I thought he squeezed receivers to the sideline really well. Now, it's a little different in the NFL, because the boundary is so much smaller than college, but I think he played with patience and played with poise. I thought he was effective as a physical press guy and also as a mirror-and-match press guy. I think in off coverage he was effective as well.
"Really, the main issue with him is going to be his ability to run on vertical routes and that's hard to know because he's obviously not matching up a lot to the kinds of receivers he will in the NFL.
"But I think the player on tape is a good prospect. If you put aside the timed speed, you see a good prospect at corner."
Round 3 (85) Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois
Cosell: "Golladay is a fascinating guy. Small-school guy. He presents an intriguing size/speed profile and there are snaps where he clearly looks the part. See with these taller guys stride length becomes a factor because even if they don't run 4.3, I mean he ran a 4.5, which is fine, but he's 6-4, 218, so he has stride length.
"I think he's a little unrefined as a route runner, which most college guys are, but I think he is definitely a little unrefined. He needs coaching to understand the nuances and details of NFL route running so his size and speed can become a factor.
"The question I had about Golladay is, can he present the vertical dimension at the NFL level because of his size and stride length? If teams believe that he can, then his value increases dramatically. My guess is, because the Lions drafted him in the third round, they see him down the road as that guy.
"He was a very interesting guy to watch. He's tall, he's sleek looking, he's 218 (pounds), but doesn't look it. His stride length and build-up speed are a big part of his game, especially when he had free access of the line of scrimmage. He did get on top of college corners, so now you have to decide if you think he can get on top of NFL corners.
"He's a really intriguing prospect."
Round 4 (124) Jalen Reeves-Maybin, OLB, Tennessee
Cosell: "Reeves-Maybin is a really fascinating guy to watch because he looks really small on tape, even though he's 6 feet and weighed 230. He's an athletic, movement linebacker. That's his game.
"I would say that his play recognition is really quick. I think his lateral quickness in the box is really, really good. He's got very good short-area quickness playing the run. He'll hit gaps. He'll make plays in the run game. He's a guy that trusted what he saw and triggered. That's his game. He's smooth and fluid flowing from gap to gap in the box. There were times he avoided blocks really well without giving up his gap integrity because he's an athletic kid.
"I think that his play speed, which is better than his timed speed, is pretty good. I thought he had the range to run inside out sideline-to-sideline. I thought his instincts and awareness as a pass defender were really good. His game is built on quickness, movement and recognition.
"The only question people would have, which is why he's drafted where he is, would be size. He's 230 pounds. He's short. So, if you he was the same player, and was 6-2, 240, he'd be a second-round pick. But the guy is under 6-1, he's 230, and he looks small on tape. He looks like a safety on tape.
"He has the size and length of a 4-3 stacked run and chase WILL linebacker."
Round 4 (127) Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo
Cosell: "Roberts is a little up and down to me because he's a big, big kid. I'd say he's athletic without any explosiveness. He's not a plodding guy, but there's no real explosiveness to his movement, and that showed up in all his combine measurables, which hey, for whatever it's worth, teams now look at everything.
"I think he's very inconsistent as a run blocker for his size. I felt he should be a better run blocker given how big he is. Now, can that be coached? Run blocking, in terms of technique, can be coached. I guess my problem with him is, I didn't think he was as competitive as I would have liked.
"I think he profiles as a tight end who probably is going to line up closer to the line of scrimmage. I think he's best suited to be close to the line of scrimmage in a tight, flexed or wing alignment. There were times he was competitive as a blocker and I think that's what you're hanging your hat on. He's got a big body, and if he can be competitive as an in-line blocker in the run game, the Lions will be really happy with that.
"He's certainly not an explosive vertical seam stretcher. He's not a true X iso kind of guy and a guy who's going to be the single receiver on the backside of the boundary. I think he moves better than his measurables, but he's not explosive.
"I think he's probably a factor in a short or intermediate passing game and I think he can be effective in the red zone with his big body and his strong hands."
Round 6 (215) Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
Cosell: "I view Kaaya as a project, which where he got drafted tells you what he is. I think he has poor footwork and lower-body mechanics and I think he needs much coaching and retraining on the fundamentals and mechanics of dropping back and setting up in the pocket. He needs much work on throwing with a firm base on balance.
"Can he function effectively in a money pocket? He's a mechanical, robotic pocket quarterback, without the desired throwing skill set to be that kind of quarterback. In other words, Carson Palmer is that kind of quarterback, but he's a high-level thrower. Being robotic and mechanical, I'm not saying that as a negative, but if you're not a great thrower, it's tough.
"He's got to throw with better overall accuracy. He must improve his velocity, which some of this could come with working on his mechanics and fundamentals.
"He's a developmental prospect. Theoretically, he went to a good team because Matthew Stafford isn't getting traded or retiring anytime in the immediate future.
"I know a lot of people at least liked him in this draft because he was one of the very few guys who actually had experience lining up under center and running a pro-style, stopping, turning his back to the defense and play action. Doing the things that NFL quarterbacks have to do. There's less and less of those guys each and every year and there's a greater disconnect every year between the pro game and the college game.
"So when you see the Brad Kaaya's of the world, you at least feel like there's a starting foundation to work with."