Kerby Joseph, Safety, Illinois
In the third round, the Detroit Lions grabbed safety Kerby Joseph out of Williams. Safety next to Tracy Walker is one of the team’s most significant needs for the team’s future, and the Lions hope to address it with Joseph. Joseph is still raw, as he only started for one year at Illinois, but all the potential is there to be a future starter.
For now, Joseph should start the season as the third safety behind DeShon Elliot and Tracy Walker. Despite being the third safety, the Lions should have plenty of three safety looks as all the three players’ skill sets complement each other nicely.
Joseph is probably the best at playing over the top of the three. He has excellent range from sideline to sideline and plays the ball well in the air. Joseph could play the single high in three safety looks, allowing Walker to match up with tight ends, running backs, slot receivers, and Elliot to play in the box.
For now, expect to see Joseph in a lot of passing situations playing over the top in Cover 1, 2, or 3, where he can make plays on the ball and hopefully force some turnovers. This should allow Joseph to get more reps without being completely exposed as he develops the finer points of the safety position.
James Mitchell, Tight End, Virginia Tech
After a round break, the Lions took tight end James Mitchell out of Virginia Tech. Tight end was a sneaky need for the Lions this off-season as TJ Hockenson is the only proven player on the roster. Mitchell addresses that need and provides competition for TE2 with Brock Wright.
Mitchell is a versatile tight end who has experience playing inline, in the slot, and as an H-back. Mitchell is the biggest receiving threat of all the tight ends on the roster outside of Hockenson. He knows how to get open downfield paired with great hands to make contested catches making him effective in moving the sticks and in the red zone.
Mitchell is a good blocker who plays with plenty of effort on opening holes in the run game. Mitchell is a versatile player who can be played all around the formation and should be TE2 this year and for years to come.