The Detroit Lions added nine rookies to their roster over the weekend and will soon add even more via undrafted free agent signings ahead of their rookie minicamp in a couple weeks.
The Lions came away with five players on defense and four on offense with varying ranges of skill sets, position versatility and physical traits. Here are some of my takeaways from the Lions draft:
1. Reshaping the tight end room
The Lions have made revamping and retooling their tight end room a priority this offseason. That trend continued in the draft. The team moved on from Levine Toilolo and Luke Willson, and signed Jesse James and Logan Thomas in free agency. They added the best tight end in the draft in T.J. Hockenson, and went back to the position on Day 3 with Georgia's Isaac Nauta.
We are likely going to see Detroit in 12 personnel (two tight end sets) more than we have in the past, which means they need versatile players at the position who can make plays in the passing game and be effective run blockers on the edge. I wouldn't be surprised if the Lions keep an extra tight end on the initial 53-man roster this year.
2. Bigger, faster, stronger
That was one of the bigger themes to this draft for me.
"Bigger is better, right? Bigger, longer, if they're athletic enough, that's what you want to build," Quinn said after the draft.
There wasn't an undersized player in the lot for the Lions.
One of the things that attracted Detroit to second-round linebacker Jahlani Tavai was his size and position versatility. The Lions are looking for linebackers with size to hold up against the run. They're also looking for position versatility -- players who can play the edge or slip inside or rush the passer. In Tavai, they think they have that type of linebacker for their system.
But even in the secondary and the picks upfront on defense, size, speed and strength were featured traits of the players selected.
3. Hybrid secondary
Quinn made the point after the draft that if a player can only do one thing, he better do it pretty darn well. A perfect example of that is Darius Slay. One of the best corners in the league, Slay plays on the outside and he plays it at a high level. That's what he does.
If we look at the selections of defensive backs Will Harris in the third round and Amani Oruwariye in round five, they both have length (measuring over 6-foot-1), speed (sub-4.5 in 40) and position versatility.
That's pretty standard for a lot of the players in the back end of Detroit's defense. Quandre Diggs, Tracy Walker, Justin Coleman, Tavon Wilson and others have either played corner and safety or both inside and outside cornerback spots.
This is a multiple defense that utilizes a number of different packages and game plans from week to week. A defense like that needs players that can do a number of different things for it to work.
4. Staying true to the board
For the last four years of running Detroit's draft, Quinn has stayed true to the philosophy of trying to blend best player available with need. Quinn has to trust his board, and stay the course. This draft was a great example of that.
Would the Lions have liked to come away with an interior offensive lineman to compete for their starting right guard spot? Probably. It just turns out that every time the Lions were on the clock they had a player graded higher than an offensive lineman.
The same thing goes for the quarterback position. Quinn has said before that drafting a quarterback at least every other year is good business. The board simply didn't fall that way this year.
Just because the Lions have an opening on the depth chart, they didn't feel the need to reach for a player grade-wise.
The Nauta selection in the seventh round was a great example. The Lions already drafted a tight end and could have addressed other needs, but Nauta was the top-graded player on their board at the time, by a good margin, so they stayed true to the board.
5. Roster competition
Competition breeds success, and the goal is to get the best competition at the most positions possible heading into training camp.
Whenever new, young talent is added to the roster, it promotes competition, and there will inevitably be some veteran players who find themselves fighting for playing time or roster spots.
Who could be a few of those veterans come training camp?
Tight end Michael Roberts, cornerback Teez Tabor and linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin are a few that come to mind right away following the draft.