How will the Lions use their picks in the 2019 NFL draft? We’re breaking down every selection.

By Emily Caron
April 25, 2019

The Lions are coming off of their first losing season since 2015, posting a 6–10 record in 2018 and missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Detroit took Arkansas center Frank Ragnow with its first selection in last year's draft but it was the team's second selection, Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson, who really broke out during his rookie season. Quarterback Matthew Stafford and Johnson will look to lead the Lions to a winning season this year as Detroit tries to rebound from a disappointing 2018. (Check out draft needs for all 32 teams.)

We're breaking down each of the Lions' selections in this year's NFL draft—including grades from The MMQB's Andy Benoit—as well as providing a full list of Detroit's picks, which will be updated as the draft continues. 

Lions picks:

Round 1, Pick 8 (No. 8 overall): T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Andy Benoit's grade: A

Head coach Matt Patricia fired offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter in part because Cooter was not overly familiar with the Patriots-style scheme that Patricia wants to run. (We’ll soon find out if new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is.) Obviously, a Patriots-style scheme has plenty of room for a five-tool tight end. Hockenson might not be the next Rob Gronkowski (those would be unfair expectations to place upon any player), but like Gronk, he is both a high-level receiver and blocker. That gives the Lions schematic flexibility and helps a running game that, incredibly, has remained mostly dormant since Barry Sanders’s sudden retirement. The fact that Detroit signed ex-Steeler Jesse James for $10.5M guaranteed in free agency suggests they want to keep two tight ends on the field, which helps simplify the looks they’ll see from opposing defenses.

Round 2, Pick 11 (No. 43 overall): Jahlani Tavai, LB, Hawaii

Andy Benoit's grade: C+

Stemming from his Patriots roots, Matt Patricia prefers big, thumping linebackers. He has one in Christian Jones, but Jones is average on the field in a contract year—hence the selection of Tavai. What will be interesting is whether Tavai’s arrival impacts where the explosive but somewhat inconsistent 2017 first-round linebacker Jarrad Davis plays.

Round 3, Pick 17 (No. 81 overall): Will Harris, S, Boston College

Andy Benoit's grade: B-

The Lions play a lot of six-and seven-DB packages under Matt Patricia, making secondary depth and versatility a key component for this defense. Anyone in this scheme must have the ability to match up one-on-one in space, and the Lions hope Harris can do that, particularly against tight ends.

Round 4, Pick 15 (No. 117 overall): Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson

Round 5, Pick 8 (No. 146 overall): Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State

Round 6, Pick 11 (No. 184 overall): Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion

Round 6, Pick 13 (No. 186 overall): Ty Johnson, RB, Maryland

Round 7, Pick 10 (No. 224 overall): Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia

Round 7, Pick 15 (No. 229 overall): PJ Johnson, DT, Arizona

See every NFL team's 2019 picks by clicking the links below. 

Arizona Cardinals | Atlanta Falcons | Baltimore Ravens | Buffalo Bills | Carolina Panthers | Chicago Bears | Cincinnati Bengals | Cleveland Browns | Dallas Cowboys | Denver Broncos | Detroit Lions | Green Bay Packers | Houston Texans | Indianapolis Colts | Jacksonville Jaguars | Kansas City Chiefs | Los Angeles Chargers | Los Angeles Rams | Miami Dolphins | Minnesota Vikings | New England Patriots | New Orleans Saints | New York Giants | New York Jets | Oakland Raiders | Philadelphia Eagles | Pittsburgh Steelers | San Francisco 49ers | Seattle Seahawks | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Tennessee Titans | Washington Redskins

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