Detroit Lions: Rapid Reactions to selection of Kerryon Johnson in 2018 NFL Draft

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 02: Kerryon Johnson
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 02: Kerryon Johnson /

The Detroit Lions moved up eight spots in the second round of the NFL Draft to take Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson.

The Detroit Lions and Bob Quinn continue to improve one of the league’s worst rushing attacks in recent years. After selecting elite C/G Frank Ragnow in the first round, the Lions traded up eight spots with the New England Patriots for Auburn RB Kerryon Johnson.

The Lions gave up their fourth-round pick to move up to No. 43 overall. While many expected the team to take a running back at some point in the draft, the selection of Johnson was a mild surprise with LSU’s Derrius Guice still on the board.

Regardless, the Lions improved their rushing attack by adding the Auburn prospect, according to most experts.

CBS Sports gave the Lions an A grade for the selection:

"I love this pick. The Lions have their lead runner. He will be a big-time producer on the ground."

Chris Sprow of ESPN compares Johnson’s attributes to that of Le’Veon Bell:

"Watch Kerryon Johnson and you’ll see a bit of Le’Veon Bell, another former second-round pick. No, he is not Bell, but Johnson combines patience, lateral quickness and power when he picks his lane. Detroit is desperate for more consistency from its rushing attack, and Johnson will get his shot."

Kent Lee Platte of Pride of Detroit had Johnson rated relatively high in this year’s running back crop:

Michael Rothstein of ESPN states that this pick does not bode well for the immediate futures of several running backs on the Lions’ current roster:

"Johnson is a power back who should take over for LeGarrette Blount in that role in 2019. By then, of course, he might be the team’s featured back with Blount and Ameer Abdullah in the final years of their contracts. Johnson being taken so high doesn’t bode well for the futures of Dwayne Washington, Tion Green, Zach Zenner or possibly even Abdullah on the roster. Figure Johnson to be worked in as an early-down back from the start."

Praise for the pick came from even the harshest of critics. Detroit Free Press writer Carlos Monarrez gave the Lions an A for trading up for their new running back:

"Bob Quinn came to his senses and made the most important addition that will help the NFL’s worst rushing attack. Johnson is exactly the kind of big back the Lions need to run between the tackles."

It seems like the Lions have found their running back of the present and the future. Adding him to the trio of veterans LeGarrette Blount, Theo Riddick, and Ameer Abdullah, the Lions are poised to make some noise on the ground in 2018.