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The one wide receiver the Detroit Lions MUST draft in 2019

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The Detroit Lions‘ offense left much to be desired in 2018. That is the nicest way I can put what in all reality, was a train wreck.

After finishing No. 12 in offensive DVOA in 2017, the Lions dropped all the way to No. 23 this past season. Sure, the rushing attack was improved, but the passing game was embarrassing. Matthew Stafford threw for under 4,000 yards for the first time in his career (when playing a full season) and despite completing 66% of his passes, his yards per attempt took a big dip from where he had been the past couple of seasons.

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At the conclusion of the season, the Lions announced they were parting ways with Jim Bob Cooter as their offensive coordinator. Cooter had been given credit for developing Stafford but his playcalling has always been predictable and he was clearly holding the offense back.

A new OC is great but the Lions still need pieces on offense

This past week, the Lions hired Darrell Bevell to be their next offensive coordinator. Bevell previously held the OC duties for the Seahawks, where he worked closely with one of the best QBs in football, Russell Wilson.

Bevell comes to Detroit with a run-first offense, something that fits well with head coach Matt Patricia’s philosophy.

But what about the passing game? What about making the best of Stafford’s abilities as a quarterback?

Well, one of the main reasons the Lions hired Bevell is his ability to adapt to the league and to the situation he is put in. You can bet he will do his best to play to Stafford’s strengths as a signal-caller but to do that, Lions’ GM Bob Quinn will have to add a few pieces to the offense.

In addition to signing or drafting a tight end who can make plays (something Quinn failed to do this past season), the Lions will absolutely have to add a receiver to take the place of Golden Tate.

Tate was traded this past offseason and though it was 100% the right move, it was obvious that Stafford looked like a lost puppy without his slot receiver.

So, how can Bob Quinn replace Tate? Well, there are two options, he could go out and sign a free agent such as Adam Humphries, but that will likely cost around $10 million/season.

The better route would be to find a gem in the mid rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Guess what? That gem came to my attention a couple of weeks ago when I was going through some footage of draft prospects and it was solidified this week as EVERYBODY began talking about his this week during Senior Bowl practice.

The Detroit Lions MUST draft wide receiver Andy Isabella out of UMass

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If you have not heard of Andy Isabella, you had better get to know the name because if Bob Quinn is smart, he will do whatever he can to snag Isabella in the 2019 NFL Draft.

At 5-8, 186 pounds, Isabella, who is training with Randy Moss, is definitely on the small side but his speed and route running abilities make him absolutely perfect for the Lions’ offense.

On Tuesday, during Senior Bowl week, Isabella stood out to just about every reporter in attendance. He immediately went from a guy on the radar to a guy every reporter now thinks the team the cover should draft.

Guess what? They are all right!

Not only is he a speed burner (he claims he ran a 4.26 hand-timed 40-yard dash), but his footwork and ability to create separation and get open is absolutely stunning.

Adding Isabella as a slot receiver would give Stafford the “Golden Tate-like” receiver he clearly missed after Tate was traded to the Eagles this past season.

I really wish I had written this weeks ago after watching Isabella’s film, but now is better than never!

BONUS CONTENT:

Kerryon Johnson is fired up about Detroit Lions’ new OC Darrell Bevell

On Wednesday, the Detroit Lions shocked just about everybody by announcing that Darrell Bevell would be their next offensive coordinator. Bevell’s name was rarely (if at all) mentioned as a potential candidate by the so-called “experts” and it was fun to watch the comments on social media flow in about whether or not it was the right hire.

One person excited about the hire is Lions’ running back Kerryon Johnson. Johnson spoke to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press about his anticipation of playing for Bevell, a coach who has worked with running backs like Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch.

“Hopefully he can see a shade of me in those guys and hopefully that (means he’s) giving me the ball,” Johnson said Thursday. “That’s what every running back wants. But like I said, he’s dealt with a lot of talent, he’s won a lot of games, he’s dealt with a lot of talented players at every position and we want to win, I’m sure he wants to win, and we can get it done together.”

By most accounts, Bevell is a run-first offensive coordinator and that has Johnson hoping it means more touches for him.

“Obviously with my position, that makes me excited and I hope that is the direction we try to go in,” Johnson said. “But regardless of the direction I want us to go in, it’s about the team and how we win games. So if he wants to bring that and that’s where we go with it, that’s where we go with it. If not, if he sees our team go in a different direction and that’s what we do, as long as we win, I’m fine.”

Johnson, who missed the end of his rookie season with a sprained knee said he is healed up and ready to roll.

“Little bit too late, but it’s nice to be able to bounce back,” he said. “It doesn’t always happen with injuries, knee injuries to be specific, but I’m good now and that’s all that matters.”

During his rookie campaign, Johnson showed flashes of greatness as he rushed for 641 yards (5.4 per attempt) and three touchdowns while adding 213 yards and another touchdown receiving.

If Kerryon can stay healthy, you can bet your bottom dollar that those stats will improve greatly in 2019.

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JUST IN: Free agent DL gets tryout with Detroit Lions

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According to Howard Balzer, the Detroit Lions reportedly held a tryout for DL Geneo Grissom.

Grissom played for the Patriots and Colts in 2018.

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Detroit Lions’ GM Bob Quinn asked about contingency plan for starting season without Matthew Stafford

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NFL: Detroit Lions at New Orleans Saints

There are more important things that football and one of those things is family.

For Detroit Lions‘ quarterback Matthew Stafford, his family has always been at the top of his list and it most certainly is now as his wife Kelly was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons

Nov 17, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford with wife Kelly Stafford during the game between the Detroit Pistons and the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Kelly recently announced she had a brain tumor which required surgery. On Wednesday, that surgery reportedly took place, according to an Instagram post by her brother Chad.

The Lions held voluntary workouts this week and one player who was understandably absent was Matthew Stafford.

Stafford, of course, is giving 100% of his time to Kelly and his children, which is what he should be doing.

On Thursday, Lions’ GM Bob Quinn held a pre-draft press conference and he was asked whether or not he had talked to Matthew about Kelly’s situation.

From Detroit News:

“I have a lot of conversations with Matt over the past couple weeks,” Quinn said. “I would say my prayers and the organization’s prayers are with him and his family, with Kelly’s situation. Out of respect for his (wishes), he wants to kind of keep everything private, so I’m going to leave it at that.”

Quinn was also asked about if he needed to make a contingency plan in case Stafford were to miss extended time.

“Nope,” Quinn replied.

BONUS CONTENT:

Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

It has been a marathon but we are almost to the promised land which is the 2019 NFL Draft!

After hours and hours of research, all of the so-called “experts” will soon be unveiling their final mock draft of the season and none of them will end up being correct.

I, on the other hand, do not claim to be an expert. Instead, I am just a huge fan of the Detroit Lions who happens to believe to know what the Lions’ biggest needs are and which available prospects can fill those needs.

That being said, here is my final crack at what I believe the “perfect” Detroit Lions’ draft would look like.

Remember, this is NOT what I think Lions’ GM Bob Quinn WILL do in the upcoming draft, it is what I think he SHOULD do.

Round 1, Pick 8

Ed Oliver (DL) Houston

I absolutely LOVE Ed Oliver if he is available when the Detroit Lions are on the clock with the No. 8 pick in the first round of the draft. Whether or not he will be available is the big question.

Oliver is an absolute beast and he could come in and make an immediate impact for a Lions defense that should be greatly improved in 2019.

From Dane Brugler (The Athletic):

STRENGTHS: Fluid body control to wriggle off blocks…excellent foot quickness and change of direction skills…shot out of a cannon with his first step…forces holding penalties due to his gap quickness…creates knockback with his speed-to-power skills…ball awareness to track through blocks…uses natural leverage to stay underneath the pads of blockers…better than expected play strength as a run defender…highly aggressive motor and effort never wanes, chasing down plays near the sidelines…dominated from the moment he stepped onto campus and leaves as a three-time All-American, collecting 54.0 tackles for loss over 33 career starts.

WEAKNESSES: Lacks desired frame and length…needs to continue and develop his body and stay in the 280-285 pound range (weighed 274 for most of his final season at Houston)…relied more on motor than brute power to overwhelm blockers in college…not a bull rusher…undeveloped approach with his hands…below- average counter measures once locked up…faced inferior competition in the AAC…several immature moments in college, including an on-field altercation with head coach Major Applewhite regarding a coat issue on the sideline — Oliver has a “young attitude” and has “growing up to do,” according to an NFL scout…missed five games as a junior with a right knee bruise (November 2018) and was limited at the combine with a strained hamstring (February 2019).

SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Houston, Oliver was one of college football’s most disruptive players over the last three years, spending most of his time at nose tackle for the Cougars. With his football flexibility and natural biomechanics, he has rare athletic ability for the position with the backfield vision to recognize play designs and disrupt from different angles. Oliver still requires time to develop his body, mind and technique at the next level. He will struggle with long-armed blockers who get to his frame and control his chest, but his energy and motor are both elite. Overall, Oliver won’t be a natural fit for every NFL scheme, but he is an ideal one-gap penetrator due to his athleticism, instincts and relentless nature, projecting best when he is lined up closest to the football.

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BREAKING: NFL announces they will have cameras in 23 NFL Draft War Rooms

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NFL fans will have the privilege of checking out NFL GMs live throughout the 2019 NFL Draft as the league has announced they will feature draft ‘War Room’ cameras in 23 team facilities.

One of the War Rooms featured will be that of the Detroit Lions.

The next step will be to have a channel dedicated to each team so fans can watch what is going on in the War Room at all times!


BONUS CONTENT:

Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

Detroit Lions’ Perfect 2019 NFL Mock Draft: Final Edition

It has been a marathon but we are almost to the promised land which is the 2019 NFL Draft!

After hours and hours of research, all of the so-called “experts” will soon be unveiling their final mock draft of the season and none of them will end up being correct.

I, on the other hand, do not claim to be an expert. Instead, I am just a huge fan of the Detroit Lions who happens to believe to know what the Lions’ biggest needs are and which available prospects can fill those needs.

That being said, here is my final crack at what I believe the “perfect” Detroit Lions’ draft would look like.

*Remember, this is NOT what I think Lions’ GM Bob Quinn WILL do in the upcoming draft, it is what I think he SHOULD do.

Round 1, Pick 8

Ed Oliver (DL) Houston

I absolutely LOVE Ed Oliver if he is available when the Detroit Lions are on the clock with the No. 8 pick in the first round of the draft. Whether or not he will be available is the big question.

Oliver is an absolute beast and he could come in and make an immediate impact for a Lions defense that should be greatly improved in 2019.

From Dane Brugler (The Athletic):

STRENGTHS: Fluid body control to wriggle off blocks…excellent foot quickness and change of direction skills…shot out of a cannon with his first step…forces holding penalties due to his gap quickness…creates knockback with his speed-to-power skills…ball awareness to track through blocks…uses natural leverage to stay underneath the pads of blockers…better than expected play strength as a run defender…highly aggressive motor and effort never wanes, chasing down plays near the sidelines…dominated from the moment he stepped onto campus and leaves as a three-time All-American, collecting 54.0 tackles for loss over 33 career starts.

WEAKNESSES: Lacks desired frame and length…needs to continue and develop his body and stay in the 280-285 pound range (weighed 274 for most of his final season at Houston)…relied more on motor than brute power to overwhelm blockers in college…not a bull rusher…undeveloped approach with his hands…below- average counter measures once locked up…faced inferior competition in the AAC…several immature moments in college, including an on-field altercation with head coach Major Applewhite regarding a coat issue on the sideline — Oliver has a “young attitude” and has “growing up to do,” according to an NFL scout…missed five games as a junior with a right knee bruise (November 2018) and was limited at the combine with a strained hamstring (February 2019).

SUMMARY: A three-year starter at Houston, Oliver was one of college football’s most disruptive players over the last three years, spending most of his time at nose tackle for the Cougars. With his football flexibility and natural biomechanics, he has rare athletic ability for the position with the backfield vision to recognize play designs and disrupt from different angles. Oliver still requires time to develop his body, mind and technique at the next level. He will struggle with long-armed blockers who get to his frame and control his chest, but his energy and motor are both elite. Overall, Oliver won’t be a natural fit for every NFL scheme, but he is an ideal one-gap penetrator due to his athleticism, instincts and relentless nature, projecting best when he is lined up closest to the football.

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