Martin Mayhew made two very smart selections during the second day of the NFL draft. They may have still fallen under his “best player available” theory but in this case both players filled needs for the Detroit Lions and he obviously recognized that when we traded up with the Seattle Seahawks to insure he could select Kyle Van Noy.
Van Noy is hailed as a pash rusher, but he did have seven interceptions while with BYU. His speed and versatility make a three down player that will rarely leave the field. Van Noy could have entered the draft after a strong junior season but instead decided to stay for his senior year. His senior season was less productive, but that was greatly due to teams not having to pay attention to his former teammate and roommate, Ziggy Ansah. Those two will once again be paired together on Detroit’s front seven and no one is happier about it then the pair themselves. In my estimation Mayhew nailed it with this pick.
In the third round the Lions chose their future successor to Dominic Raiola at center. Travis Swanson from Arkansas is certainly not a flashy pick and barring injury, he is likely to spend 2014 on the bench and learning from Raiola. He’ll serve as the backup center and guard this year, which is a need the Lions had to fill as they had no other player that could play both positions previously. Swanson started 50 straight games at Arkansas and was the third highest rated center in the draft.
Mayhew and the Lions still need to address the secondary but anyone they select at this point is just going to be a depth player. They need to hope that the young players they’ve invested in the last few years finally break out and produce at a higher level. Rashean Mathis and Chris Houston will need to defy the years and the injuries respectively. It’s possible that the addition of the pass rushing and coverage skills that Van Noy brings to the linebacker position helps the cause by wreaking havoc up front.
All in all the second day for the Lions was a success. Mayhew expressed the desire to have three starters selected in this years draft and while Swanson will likely have to wait a year to crack the lineup, it appears that Mayhew in essence to reach his goal. The choice of Ebron still stings a little bit and has been widely criticized by the so called draft experts. If you look at the players as a threesome though, especially due to a great value pick in Van Noy, Mayhew has earned at least a B grade.