The Lions are in the midst of a big transition under Matt Patricia. The 2019 NFL Draft will be a crucial pivot point for the NFC North team.
Matt Patricia really put his stamp on the Lions last season on the field. Now it’s time for the Detroit front office to allow him to really transform the roster. Free agency will be big for the Lions, but expect the franchise to focus most of their efforts on building through the draft.
Fortunately for the Lions, they have a lot of picks to work with. Detroit has extra picks in both the sixth and seventh rounds. That will give the franchise some ammunition to engineer trades during the draft. Don’t be surprised of Patricia urges his front office to hop around the draft in a similar fashion to the way Bill Belichick runs the Patriots.
In this piece we’ll walk you through each projected pick for the Lions. We start in round one with a big time defensive talent heading to the Motor City.
Round 1: Ed Oliver
The impending departure of Ziggy Ansah means the Lions have to find a pass rusher in the draft. Oliver has as much talent as anyone in his draft class, but inconsistency will leave him available for the Lions to select at No. 8.
Most teams have Oliver pegged as a defensive tackle, but we really like his potential fit as a defensive end in a 3-4 system. That’s exactly how Patricia lines the Lions up. He’d give the defensive-minded coach a legitimate pass rushing threat on his front three. That could be a game changer for the Lions defense.
The question here is whether or not Patricia is comfortable with Oliver’s questionable motor. The former Houston star will need to win over the Lions during his interviews, but he’s got the personality to do just that. Taking Oliver would be a gamble, but it could pay off huge for Patricia and his team.