The NFL Draft is coming up at the end of the month. As lucky as I am, it starts on my birthday. It’s a time of hope for the new season as each team picks a few players from the college ranks to help fortify last year’s weaknesses. Some people love the draft, others hate it. As a Lions fan, it’s usually all I have to look forward to since they have been perennially bad as a team. Many people will say it doesn’t matter, it’s just picking players, what’s the big deal?
I get it. Not everyone likes the same things. There are also actual sports being played, not just talked about during the offseason. NHL and NBA playoffs are in full swing. I’ll watch those games when I can and have interest in them as a sports fan, but if they lose one game, there are at least 3 more games in that series to watch. Each game counts, I know. But look at the NFL in terms of games. The entire season is less than 1/4 of the NBA or NHL in terms of games played. And I’m not even going to get started with baseball’s 160-ish games per season.
Every game is that much more important because there are much fewer chances to make up for a loss. So knowing who we’ve got playing on our teams is exciting to find out on draft day. Which brings me to a fun draft simulator that lets you make the picks for your team and have the rest of the draft simulated for the other teams. I found this one at Fanspeak.com. I’m sure there are more out there, but this is the one I know about.
First, you select the team you want to draft for, then the rankings list you want the simulator to use. Then you start drafting. Now the main thing to remember: This is a simulated mock draft based on whatever rankings list you choose. I’ve seen players from one ranking list get drafted in the first round and then used a different ranking list that led that same player to be drafted late in the third round. THESE ARE JUST PROJECTIONS.
Naturally, I select the Lions. I’ve done probably 25 of these simulations over the past week and I’ve seen a lot of different scenarios from RB Todd Gurley falling in their laps at pick #23 to minimal options and taking the best OT/DT available, even if it’s a little bit of a reach based on who’s still available. (Gurley falling to the Lions happens a lot, with almost every ranking list the site has available. We’ll see how real that is once the people actually making the picks get started on April 30.)
My favorite draft so far has the Lions selecting the following in the first three rounds:
Round 1, Pick 23 Overall: DT Eddie Goldman (Florida State)
Round 2, Pick 54 Overall: WR Devin Smith (Ohio State)
Round 3, Pick 88 Overall: RB Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska)
First off, the Lions have a young player to plug in to the defensive tackle rotation after losing both Suh and Fairley during Free Agency. Second, they take a luxury pick at WR who has no business still being available that late in the second round. He’ll stretch the field with Megatron and let Tate work the slot and Ebron work the middle. Scary. Finally, Abdullah is gift wrapped in the third round to fill the hole left by the often injured Reggie Bush.
I realize this doesn’t address the offensive line, but the Lions are okay here. Sims and the OG from the Falcons who visited in Free Agency are both still available. If the draft goes like this, they bring back Sims (a player they’ve already expressed some interest in having back) or sign the Falcons FA who’s still available. Then draft OG in round 5 or 6 that can help out or learn for the future. The OT spot isn’t as bad as some fear as long as Waddle can stay healthy (wishful thinking maybe).
Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m being a fan here. This draft would get me instantly excited about the 2016 season. And, as a fan, I can also say that my second favorite draft would have the Lions drafting RB Gurley in the first and OG Laken Tomlinson (Duke) in the second round and a DT or OT in the third round. This draft would give a huge upgrade at RB while solidifying the interior of the offensive line to help make some holes for Gurley to run through. I’d be happy with both of these draft scenarios.
Now will either of these be EXACTLY what the Lions will do? Absolutely not. I’m almost 100% sure neither of these happens. Why? Because I’m not in the scouting department or involved in setting up the Lions draft board and rankings. And that’s probably for the best. Because, really, if the Lions draft guys I’ve never heard of or I think are horrible or seem to be completely off from the needs of the team…as long as they win games next year, I will be happy. Maybe this is why people hate the NFL Draft and all the coverage it gets. But as a fan who loves football and my Lions, I’m interested in every aspect of the game. That includes watching NFL teams draft players during the offseason.
It’s kind of like Fantasy Football, I love to talk about it, analyze possibilities for the upcoming year, guess who will be good and who won’t be good, and chat with friends who have different opinions to see who turns out to have a better sense of what will actually happen. Everyone has different hobbies and interests, this just happens to be something I’m interested in because I find it fun. So right now I’m going to switch back over to Fanspeak.com and do a few more draft scenarios, just to see how things could turn out at the end of the month.
Hope everyone’s enjoying their Sunday afternoon as much as I am.