Grading the Detroit Lions 2018 draft class way too soon

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Nick Bawden
SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Nick Bawden /
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Nick Bawden A+

There are not many positions at which a team can pick up an immediate starter in the seventh round of the draft. The Lions managed to do so. Fullback Nick Bawden was quite the catch. An ideal fullback in the modern NFL needs to be more than a mindless blocker. Many Lions fans were displeased when the team moved on from Michael Burton, but that kind of player is a dinosaur. He brought only blocking ability and limited special teams contribution to the team. The NFL has become a passing league, and if the only thing a player brings to the table in the passing game is blocking, he is not worth a roster spot.

Bawden brings a set of soft hands, and an ability to read the defense. He was recruited to San Diego State as a quarterback. After a single season, he drew the conclusion that he wouldn’t get on the field at that position. Rather than spend four years on the bench he bulked up and became the lead blocker for two separate running backs that gained over 2000 yards on the ground at San Diego State. The Lions are hoping he can be a key piece of the puzzle that has plagued their running game since 2013.

Overall grade B+

The Lions did not get spectacular value in the opening rounds of the draft. They made up for it in the later rounds. This grade is an unweighted average of my grades for each pick, and it does represent how I feel about the draft. The Lions are a better team than they were a week ago. They are a deeper team than they were a week ago. They did not fill every hole in the roster, but the teams that draft for their needs in the current season always regret it. Of course, the real judgment of a draft does not take place for at least three years. We can revisit this then.