Grading Lions Draft

Lions insider Mike Fowler delivers his grades on each Lions' selection, including a review of each player and how they might benefit the ball club. Exclusive insider analysis inside.

Round 1, 6th overall: Roy Williams, wide receiver, Texas: Grade A
Williams, 6-foot-2, 220-lbs runs a 4.3-40, has big soft hands, runs terrific routes and was arguably the best player in the draft. Making the pick a slam dunk was the fact that Detroit got an additional second round pick to move down just one spot and still get the player they wanted.

Round 1, 30th overall: Kevin Jones, Running Back, Virginia Tech: Grade A-
Detroit moved back up into the first round to fill one of their primary needs. Jones has speed (forget that 4.6 40 time at his pro day) and the ability to make players miss in the open field. Jones needs to tone down his "I'm the greatest act." Comparing himself to hall of famer Barry Sanders is a mistake - unless he can back it up. He could alienate teammates with his comment that now he's the starting running back. Jones will compete, but nothing is guaranteed in the NFL.

Round 2, 37th overall: Teddy Lehman, Linebacker, Oklahoma: Grade B
I would have taken Florida State linebacker Michael Boulware (taken 53rd by Seattle), a speed rusher who can get off the edge and get to the passer, but after Millen's great first-round trade to get an extra second round pick, I'll defer to Millen. Lehman, with 117 tackles and six sacks can get after some people. He's a ready made starter at the weakside position and is a highly motivated, self-starter who made himself into one of the top linebackers in the draft.

Round 3, 73rd overall: Keith Smith, Cornerback, McNeese State: Grade D
This selection is somewhat of a head scratcher. With three young corners returning from injuries (Andre Goodman, Chris Cash and Rod Babers) why Detroit felt the need to go after a corner- and one without great speed- is somewhat of a mystery. Still at 5-foot-11, 200-lbs, Smith has some talent but isn't known for sticking his nose in on run support instead choosing to be more of a cover corner. This might have been the time to go after the great punter B.J. Sander (Green Bay, 87th overall) Other players left on the board, center Alex Stepanovich, Ohio St; corner Will Poole, USC; Isaac Sopoaga, DT, Hawaii; Nathan Vasher, CB, Texas; Will Allen, S, Ohio St.

Round 5, 140th overall: Alex Lewis, Linebacker, Wisconsin: Grade C: A need pick by the Lions. After losing three linebackers in free agency, Detroit needed to revamp their special teams and beef up their linebacking corps. Lewis fits the bill here. Sporting 4.5 speed, Lewis can get sideline-to-sideline and has the ability to possibly get into the Lions playing group as a situational pass rusher.

Round 6, 172nd overall: Kelly Butler, Tackle, Purdue, Grade B: A big imposing offensive lineman (6-foot-7, 324-lbs) who can be dominant in run blocking. Has enough speed (5.4-40) to get downfield and block would-be tacklers. Originally projected as a fourth round selection, Butler slipped after getting tagged as a "problem player" who has had trouble on-and-off the field. Butler feels he is as good as anyone at his position save two guys, Robert Gallery of Iowa and Shawn Andrews of Arkansas.

"My stock is rising," Butler says with a hint of a smile. "That is what I hear that my stock is rising from the combines and my personal workouts. You never know in this process. I just want to go and try and make a ball club and try and get an opportunity. I am looking forward to it."

Overall grade: A-: The team added at least three starters with the only real question mark being the third round selection Keith Smith when several talented players who filled distinct needs were on the board at safety (Matt Ware, UCLA) and punter (B. J. Sander). Still, there are always going to be times when a team can be second guessed. GM Matt Millen left very few on those on the board.

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