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TIM AND MIKE: 2016 NFL Draft analysis

There is a lot to like, some things to question and a couple that could fall in the category of "why not the other guy?" when it comes to a quick analysis of how the Detroit Lions fared in this year's draft.

As general manager Bob Quinn said during and after the draft, he wanted the Lions to get bigger and stronger. Drafting five linemen – three on offense, two on defense – accomplished that.

A three-day rookie minicamp that starts Friday will give the Lions the first look at their 2016 rookie class – the 10 draft picks, undrafted free agents who have signed, plus other rookies who are getting tryouts.

Before putting eyes on the rookies, this is a look back at the Lions' 2016 draft class. What was the best? And what were the surprises?

Mike: It's the same for every draft class that the value has to be proven on the field, but the best was targeting the offensive line as an obvious need and drafting players to strengthen it.

In my final mock draft, I had the Lions taking pass-rusher Shaq Lawson of Clemson at No. 16, so am I disappointed that the Lions took offensive tackle Taylor Decker of Ohio State? No, because I had Decker going at No. 15 – one pick ahead of Lawson.

Two other picks in the Lions' top five were spent on the offensive line – center Graham Glasgow of Michigan in the third round, and guard/tackle Joe Dahl of Washington State in the fifth.

It makes for interesting competition in training camp for starting jobs and roster spots.

Prediction: two of the three will start on opening day.

Tim: Bob Quinn made a very true comment last weekend that football games are won and lost in the trenches. His first draft reflected a commitment to the trenches and I suspect that could be a theme of future drafts as well.

The Lions needed to upgrade the tackle position. Check. They needed to address the long-term future at defensive tackle. Check. They certainly needed competition at center. Check.

After that they addressed some other needs and selected some players with position versatility.  

I still think they're a little short on pass rushers after not addressing that area until the sixth round with Anthony Zettel. 

Who was their best pick?

Mike: I'm not saying he's the best pick, but the one that interests me most is strong safety Miles Killebrew, the fourth-round pick from Southern Utah.

It's easy to get dazzled by highlights because they show players in the best light possible, but Killebrew looks like a hitter. That was his reputation at Southern Utah, and his nickname is "Killa."

If Killebrew lives up to his reputation and nickname, he will be a real asset playing next to free safety Glover Quin.

Which pick is on your radar screen – or is there more than one?

Tim: There's certainly more than one, but I really liked the Robinson pick. What's not to like? He's a first-round talent, and one of the best defensive tackles available in the draft, and he fell to the Lions in the middle of the second round.

I think he's going to be a terrific run stopper right away, and at 21 years old, he has a really high ceiling. Zettel will get an opportunity to play early on, and he has the size profile the Lions like at the position.

What pick was a bit of a surprise?

Mike: Agree on Robinson. Quinn said on WJR-760 recently that the pro personnel department's pre-draft research of what other teams might do indicated he would be gone in the range of picks 16-28. At 46, they got him a full round later than the highest projection.

As for a surprise, remember how I insisted Saturday morning that if long snapper Jimmy Landes was on the board the Lions should take him with one of their sixth-round picks. Remember that?

And when they took Jake Rudock with the 16th pick in Round 6 I said they'd rue the day they didn't take Landes?

And how upset I was when they took Anthony Zettel with the 27th pick in the sixth round?

And how all was forgiven when Jimmy Landes became a Lion with the 35th pick in the sixth round?


Me ever surprised?

Remember that?

Top that one.

Tim: Funny, I don't recall any of that.

I do recall, however, being a bit surprised by the Rudock pick myself. Not the position, but the player. There were some players on the board that most analysts graded slightly higher – Jeff Driskel and Brandon Allen to name a couple. But Rudock was tops on Quinn's board at the time.

Rudock came from a pro-style system at Michigan, and Quinn said he really liked him after spending time with him during his workout for the team.

Which of the 10 picks could fall under the category as a "wildcard" in your book?

Mike: Two choices for me.

No. 1: Dwayne Washington, the seventh-round pick from Washington, and not just because Washington from Washington has a nice ring. It looks like he has size and some speed. That combination gives him a chance to make the roster.

No. 2: An undrafted free agent – either somebody who's on hand for this week's rookie camp, or an addition later on. There's always at least one of those who makes an impression – like tight end Joseph Fauria did briefly, or safety James Ihedigbo did for the long haul and played the last two of his eight seasons with the Lions.

Tim: I like where your head is at with the undrafted players. At least two have made the initial 53-man roster the last three seasons.

Killebrew fits the title if he's able to come in and beat out Rafael Bush, Tavon Wilson and others for the starting strong safety spot, but I'm going to go with Graham Glasgow here. I think he has a chance to win the starting job vs. incumbent Travis Swanson.

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