The 2016 NFL Draft is in the books for the Detroit Lions. Later this week the 10 draft picks will join a number of select undrafted free agents and tryout players in Allen Park for their rookie minicamp. Then they'll be thrown into the fire with the veterans at OTAs the following week.
I'll always reserve judgments on the Lions' class until they get to training camp and we start to see them in game action in the preseason.
But I do have 10 quick-fire thoughts on how the draft shook out for the Lions.
1. Improving the trenches was a huge priority
Half of their 10 picks addressed either the offensive or defensive lines, including their first three selections – T Taylor Decker, DT A'Shawn Robinson and C Graham Glasgow.
"Absolutely, that was one of my goals going into the draft and I felt like there were a lot of players at different levels of the draft that we could do that," GM Bob Quinn said of getting bigger and stronger upfront.
2. Quinn values position versatility
Decker played both left and right tackle at Ohio State. Glasgow can play all three interior line positions. Joe Dahl played tackle in college but could make the move to guard in the NFL. Anthony Zettel played DT and DE at Penn State. Antwione Williams can play the SAM or the WILL. Even a guy like fourth-round pick safety Miles Killebrew has some position versatility in sub packages.
The Lions can only dress 46 players on gameday, so the more positions a guy can play, the more value he has.
3. The Lions could be very young upfront
Let's speculate for a moment that both Decker and Glasgow win starting jobs at right tackle and center, respectively. If that indeed happens, Riley Reiff would be the elder statesman at age 27, and the ages down the line would go: Laken Tomlinson (24), Glasgow (23), Larry Warford (24) and Decker (21).
4. Detroit is getting serious about running the football
As they should after finishing last in the NFL in that category in 2015. Decker's best attribute is his run-blocking prowess. Glasgow stands 6-foot-6, 307 pounds, which is pretty big for a center, and has a mean streak when it comes to run blocking. Even snagging a running back like Dwayne Washington late shows that commitment.
**5. A'Shawn Robinson vs. Jarran Reed
Both Alabama defensive tackles were on the board in the second round when the Lions selected Robinson, who obviously had a higher grade on their board. At just 21 years of age, the ceiling appears to be very high for Robinson, but these two will always be linked for obvious reasons.
6. There will be better competition this offseason and in training camp
Quinn was asked about the selection of long snapper Jimmy Landes in the sixth round and what it means for veteran Don Muhlbach. Quinn said all it means is that Muhlbach has competition. One of his main goals since taking over in January has been to improve the depth and competition on this roster. The competition at offensive tackle, defensive tackle, center, SAM linebacker and strong safety are all tougher following this draft.
7. Quinn showed he values young quarterbacks, just like he said.
He said this offseason that it's "good football business" to acquire young quarterbacks at least every other year, if not every year. The selection of former Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock shows Quinn is serious about that.
8. Team seems to like talent/depth at cornerback and receiver
It may just be how the board fell, but Quinn didn't address the receiver or cornerback positions with any of his 10 picks. The Lions have young talent and depth at both positions. Not addressing those spots at least on the outside shows that the front office and coaching staff feel pretty good about those two spots.
9. Long snapper wasn't a reach
The Patriots took one in the fifth round in 2015. Muhlbach will be 35 years old this year and doesn't cover kicks like he used to. Competition at every spot, even long snapper, is a good thing. The Lions took Landes with a sixth-round compensatory pick. He was pick 210. He was up on Detroit's board as the top graded long snapper. There's certainly no guarantee he would have signed with Detroit as an undrafted free agent.
10. What, no grade?
No disrespect to the people who grade the draft in its immediate aftermath, but it's not for me. Grading a draft before a player pads up and steps on the field is like writing a restaurant review based off the appetizer. I'm holding off for now.