The Lions decided on selecting a defensive tackle from Utah with their 197th pick in the sixth round, but unfortunately, not the one we had our sights set on a couple of rounds earlier. John Penisini is a 6-foot-1, 320-pound tackle that can handle NFL double teams and plug up the run game.
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He’s got the ability to shed blockers and won’t be pushed around due to his lowe center of gravity and brut strength. Similar to his teammate Fotu, Penisini has the potential to excel as a run defender on early downs but struggles to generate any pressure as an interior pass-rusher.
Penisini projects mostly as a depth, rotational defensive lineman that will come off of the football field on third down and during expected passing situations.
The Detroit Lions rounded out their draft by selecting Jashon Cornell from the Ohio State Buckeyes. Cornell, a one-year starter split time playing as an interior lineman and a defensive end. Similar to Penisini, Cornell projects as a depth, rotational defensive lineman if he finds a way to stick on Detroit’s roster. Cornell isn’t big enough to play as a nose tackle, but perhaps has enough juice to play inside on the defensive line on third down as a pass-rusher in the way Mike Daniels was expected to be last season.
Cornell is a 285-pound ‘tweener’ standing 6-foot-3. He’s better off as an end but will never be more than a backup/rotational player at the NFL level. He compiled a career-best 30 tackles and four sacks last season with the Buckeyes.
All in all, it was a great draft by Bob Quinn, especially at the top end. It’s hard to grade a draft today, we should look back, and grade draft picks three years down the road to see how the players develop. Right now, just by positional need, the potential of the players selected, I can’t help but give Quinn a firm ‘B+’ on the entire draft. An ‘A’ for the first three rounds, and a ‘C+’ for the second half. It’s not a bad thing; this looks to be an excellent haul for Detroit and a great overall weekend.