The Detroit Lions are coming off a 6-10 season, last in the NFC North. They were 25th in scoring at just 20.3 points per game, but more solid defensively, ranked 16th at 22.5 points allowed. In need of more offensive punch, the Lions selected tight end T.J. Hockenson with their first pick in the draft. We'll examine that pick and all of the team's top five selections.
T.J. Hockenson (8th) - TE (Iowa)
Hockenson played in a two tight end set at Iowa and earned playing time as a freshman, catching 24 passes with three touchdowns in 13 games. Despite sharing time with Noah Fant in 2018, Hockenson was names top tight end in the country, hauling in 49 balls for 760 yards and six touchdowns.
An excellent route runner, Hockenson possesses good hands and the ability to make additional yardage after the catch. He can pose match up problems for the defense since he can align in various spots in a formation. There are very few, if any, glaring weaknesses to his game and while there is an adjustment period for all players making the jump to the NFL, Hockenson should make an immediate impact to the Lions offense has high ceiling potential.
Jahlani Tavai (43rd) - LB (Hawaii)
Tavai made 56 tackles, including three sacks as a freshman. In 2016, he has 129 tackles with seven sacks and was first-team All-Mountain West. He ranked 10th in the FBS with 124 tackles in 2017, recording 11 tackles for loss of yardage. Tavai was named honorable mention all-conference as a senior after registering 82 tackles in eight starts, missing the last month due to injury.
Tavai possesses great strength and athleticism, adequate speed and solid range covering the field. Another positive is the versatility Tavai shows, enable to play at multiple positions. Displaying sound football smarts, Tavai assesses situations on the field well and makes quick decisions. A tactician that makes few mistakes, Tavai should be an immediate contributor for the Lions.
Will Harris (81st) - S (Boston College)
Harris made 20 tackles in 12 games as a freshman, increasing his production to 47 tackles and two interceptions in 2016 and 83 tackles with 5.5 for a loss as a junior. Earning third-team All-ACC honors as a senior, Harris make 75 tackles with one interception.
Harris has good speed and coverage range, who is also physical enough to match up against tight ends as well as slot receivers. He's a good tackler who can play both up in the box and deep in the secondary. The versatility Harris displays gives the Lions numerous options as to where to play him.
Austin Bryant (117th) - DE (Clemson)
Bryant played in 13 games as a freshman in 2015, recording 35 tackles. His production decreased as a sophomore to 16 tackles, including two sacks but rebounded as a junior, earning third-team AP All-American and second-team All-ACC after after recording 8.5 sacks. Bryant flourished as a senior after recording 14.5 tackles for loss of yardage and eight sacks.
Bryant displays good size and improved as a pass rusher last year over 2017. He needs to work on more of his pass-rushing techniques and his explosiveness but has all the tools NFL scouts look for in a defensive end. Perhaps Bryant wont have a significant impact this season, but should see some playing time and could develop into a very good situational player and member of defensive line rotation.
Amani Oruwariye (146th) - CB (Penn State)
Oruwariye saw little time as a freshman and sophomore, but earned second-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior. A starer as a senior last year, Oruwariye had three interceptions, 51 tackles and two tackles for loss of yardage. His efforts were good enough for first team All-Big Ten honors.
He displays very good size who can play both man and zone coverage. His technique needs improvement on the bump and run coverage and is probably better suited for a zone defense scheme. Oruwairye is smart and has a good idea about where to cover in the zone. He will probably be a special teams player and back up and situational corner this year with a chance to be a starter down the road.