The Detroit Lions rounded out their 2019 NFL Draft by adding three weapons to their offense and a big interior tackle to their defense with their final four picks of the draft.
Detroit added a receiver, running back, tight end and defensive tackle with their four picks in the sixth and seventh rounds. Here’s a little more information on those four draft picks:
Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion, Rd 6 (No. 184)
Fulghum's parents were Foreign Service Officers, so he didn’t live in the United States until high school. He didn’t start playing football until his junior year in high school, and the only offer he had to play collegiately was as a walk on at Old Dominion.
It wasn’t long before Old Dominion knew they had a player. This past season, Fulgham was an All-Conference USA player, leading the league with 1,083 receiving yards on 63 receptions for a 17.2 average per reception.
Fulgham isn’t a burner, but he has good size (6-2, 215) and terrific ball skills. He made a living in college making plays down the field.
“I feel like I’m a receiver who can definitely make some big plays,” Fulgham said in a conference call Saturday. “A polished route runner. I can run any route on the route tree.”
He’s the first offensive player ever drafted out of Old Dominion.
Ty Johnson, RB, Maryland, Rd. 6 (No. 186)
Johnson started nine games in 2018, averaging 7.7 yards per carry, but only received 77 carries (509 yards and three touchdowns) with the emergence of Anthony McFarland in the Terrapins' backfield.
Johnson was a 1,000-yard rusher in 2016, and averaged better than 6.0 yards per carry in each of the last three seasons. He also returned kicks in college. Special teams might be his ticket to a roster spot in Detroit. This late in the draft, players with special teams ability are a big plus, and Johnson could provide something in that regard.
“I just want to come in, if it’s kick returner, that’s fine, if it’s at running back, that’s fine, I just want to come in and be one of the biggest contributors on the team and play and win," Johnson said.
He was asked in a conference call after his selection how fast he was, because he wasn’t invited to the Combine and never got an official time. He said his agent told him he ran in the 4.3-4.4 range in the 40-yard dash at his pro day. That kind of speed shows up on film, and could aid him in trying to earn an early role on special teams.
View photos of running back Ty Johnson.
Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia, Rd 7 (No. 224)
A lot of Nauta's best performances last season for Georgia came against big-time opponents. He caught five passes for 73 yards against Florida, and hauled in four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown against Alabama.
“I think it shows that I’m a gamer,” Nauta said in a conference call. “I’ve put in the work to put myself in the position to make those plays and I think it’s just a product of all the work I put in.”
He started 13 of 14 games this past year, and ended the season grabbing a career-high 30 receptions for 430 yards (14.3 average) and three touchdowns.
The Lions have obviously looked to re-shape their tight end room this offseason with the signing of Jesse James and Logan Thomas in free agency and the drafting of T.J. Hockenson and Nauta.
Nauta lined up in line, played the H-back role, split out wide, and looks to be a pretty balanced tight end. He should have an opportunity to compete for the third tight end role for the Lions with veterans Thomas and Michael Roberts.
“I think competition is good,” Nauta said. “I think competition brings the best out in people.”
View photos of tight end Isaac Nauta.
P.J. Johnson, DT, Arizona, Rd 7 (No. 229)
Johnson was on the phone with the Baltimore Ravens, who were talking about wanting to sign him after the draft, when the Lions called in the seventh round wanting to take him with their final pick.
Johnson said he politely told the Ravens that the Lions liked him and were on the other line, and he had to go.
Detroit made sure Johnson found his way to Allen Park, and will now see if he can earn himself a role along their defensive line.
Johnson (6-4, 335) is a big, strong, interior tackle. He said he took a pre-draft visit to Detroit and got familiar with their schemes on defense. He’s got a quick first step for a man his size, and showed an ability to play in the opponent backfield at times with 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks from the interior.
The Lions are deep along their defensive line, but Johnson has a skill set and body type that’s worth taking a look at in the seventh round of the draft.
View photos of defensive tackle PJ Johnson.