An All-Michigan NFL Draft isn’t the Worst Idea for the Detroit Lions

It’s no secret that the Michigan football program is about to have a big weekend at the 2017 NFL Draft. With a very realistic chance of at least 14 players (I could honestly see all 19 eligible players selected) being selected between April 27th and April 29th, which would actually be two more than Ohio State’s 12 from 2016 which was the most ever, Schembechler Hall should be in for one hell of a day.

And a place that’s not too far away from Ann Arbor could be a main reason why for the excitement.

The Detroit Lions are in need of plenty of things in this draft, mainly a pass rushing defensive end, defensive back help and linebackers. As for luxury picks, the offense could use some weapons in both the running and passing game. And, whataya know, Michigan has options at every spot.

Though there’s a zero percent chance of this ever happening, Bob Quinn showed his fondness for UM players in the 2016 draft with the Graham Glasgow and Jake Rudock selections. So, let’s see what it would look like if Quinn drank the blue Koolaid and went with an “All-Michigan” 2017 NFL draft:

1st Round (#21 overall): DE Taco Charlton or S Jabrill Peppers

Pretty much every Lions fan knows that the team should probably go defense in the first round, unless a “can’t pass up” talent falls into their laps, with defensive end, linebacker or defensive back being on the wish list. And with Michigan’s top two draft prospects filling the needs, the Lions could go either way.

It looks like a real possibility that both players could be available when Detroit is on the clock. While Charlton is the safer pick and a bigger immediate need, Peppers has the potential to be an absolute superstar and could help fill needs at multiple positions, including safety, linebacker and a little corner.

Would Bob Quinn play it safe or swing for the fences?

My Selection: DE Taco Charlton

2nd Round (#53 overall): DT Chris Wormley or TE Jake Butt

While Amara Darboh and Jourdan Lewis could very well end up going in the 2nd round, Wormley looks to be the 3rd ranked player on the board from UM. And he’d fit another need, as the Lions are still looking for help on the defensive line. That remains the case even if they chose Charlton in the first.

Paired with A’Shawn Robinson, Ziggy Ansah and (possibly) Taco Charlton, Wormley and the Lions could have the makings of a very nice defensive line.

But Butt is the guy I’d rather see the Lions go with and who I think the Lions would go with, as there have been several reports of Quinn wanting to add another athletic, pass catching tight end to the offense. This may be a little higher than his projected landing spot, thanks to his Orange Bowl injury, but I wouldn’t put it past Quinn to go and get a talent like Butt right here.

My Selection: TE Jake Butt 

3rd Round, #85 overall: CB Jourdan Lewis or WR Amara Darboh

Speaking of Lewis and Darboh, both very well may be available by the time the Lions’ 3rd round pick pops up and both should be considered. Darboh could be that bigger possession receiver that would be a nice safety valve for Stafford while Lewis could potentially be that lockdown corner to lineup opposite Darius Slay.

No matter what, if Lewis is available to the Lions in the 3rd round and they haven’t selected a corner back, he should be a top target for this selection.

My Selection: CB Jourdan Lewis

4th Round, #128 overall: DT Ryan Glasgow or OL Ben Braden

The Lions need more help upfront on defense and Glasgow could be a very nice, mid-round pick. He’s a mean, hard nosed, dirty work kind of player that knows how to make plays in the backfield. Add in the cool story to see the Lions select both Glasgow brothers in back-to-back NFL drafts and this would be a solid selection for Bob Quinn.

Detroit could also look to add a tackle/guard swing lineman, like Braden, to build up the depth chart behind its impressive offensive line.

My Selection: DT Ryan Glasgow

5th Round, #165 overall: LB Ben Gedeon or OL Erik Magnuson 

Linebacker is arguably the biggest need on the roster. So, with Gedeon being the only draft eligible linebacker from Michigan, he has to be chosen.

Though he had a bit of a roller coaster career in Ann Arbor, his athleticism and grittiness makes him an intriguing prospect for the NFL. Most draft prospect rankings have him going in the 5th round.

Magnuson is another depth offensive line option that the Lions could look to in the mid-late rounds of the draft.

My Selection: LB Ben Gedeon

6th Round, #205 overall: CB Channing Stribling or FS Delano Hill

More depth at the cornerback position isn’t a bad thing and Michigan offers two bigger corners that would be nice selections, if available, this late.

Stribling was the ball hawk of the UM secondary and has improved every single season while in Ann Arbor. He’s a guy that could end up being a very nice pick. And then there’s Hill, who is from Detroit and could fill a big need at safety behind Glover Quin and Tavon Wilson.

With everyone looking for big, athletic defensive backs, either of these guys would be nice picks.

My Selection: FS Delano Hill

6th Round, #215 overall: RB De’Veon Smith or WR Jehu Chesson

Though, when healthy, the Lions have a very dangerous running attack, the odds of Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick playing in all 16 games are slim. And Michigan has the perfect fit.

Smith is a big, bruising back that can take on some of those in-between the tackle blows and continue churn out yards. So, pretty much exactly what Detroit needs, if the staff is looking to build the depth at the position instead of looking for a sure-fire #1 back.

If the Lions go the free agency/trade route for a running back, Chesson could make for a very nice pick here. He has the look of a good pro. From his locker room and community presence to his ability to make big plays in the passing game and all over the specials teams world, he’ll be a value pick for whoever gets him.

My Selection: RB De’Veon Smith

7th Round, #250 overall: CB Jeremy Clark, S Dymonte Thomas, DL Matt Godin or OG Kyle Kalis

Whether the Lions take a corner earlier, like Jourdan Lewis, or not, depth at the position is always needed. And Clark is one of the most intriguing prospects in the class because of his mix of size and athleticism.

But there’s plenty of options at the end of the draft.

If the Lions want to wrap up this All-Michigan draft, the starff could either take a flier on either Clark or Thomas’ athleticism and flashes of something big, Godin’s versatility and hard nosed play, or look to add Kalis as a depth lineman.

 My Selection: CB Jeremy Clark 

Though it’ll never happen, let’s go into Imagination Land for a second. What would you grade the Lions if they chose a variety of the choices above? Let us know in the comment section below!

Photo Credit: Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

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