Allen Park — After a free-agency period filled with mostly modest and short-term signings, the NFL Draft will truly be the first opportunity for coach Matt Patricia to put his stamp on the Detroit Lions’ roster.
Obviously, each selection will ultimately be credited to general manager Bob Quinn, but as he’s stated multiple times, each roster decision will be a joint decision between Patricia and him.
In 2014, the Lions selected tight end Eric Ebron in the first round, before trading up to get linebacker Kyle Van Noy near the top of the second. And like Caldwell, neither remains with the franchise.
Ebron was jettisoned this offseason when his contract cost outpaced his value. Van Noy didn’t even make it through three seasons with the team before he was traded away to the Patriots for pennies on the dollar.
Neither of those players ended up being the program builders the Lions had hoped. Ebron was supposed to be a game-changer in the mold of Jimmy Graham, but at his best was a fringe top-10 guy at his position. Van Noy was a square peg in a round hole, asked to play a completely different style than the one he had thrived doing while at BYU.
Witten had been floated as a candidate for the Monday Night Football opening (as well as for Fox’s Thursday Night Football void), and had reportedly auditioned for the position, but until Friday we had little reason to believe he was a front-runner in a crowded field. With Peyton Manning and Brett Favre out of the running, other reported candidates have included Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss, Louis Riddick, Rex Ryan, Booger McFarland, Kurt Warner, Joe Thomas and Greg Olsen. But it seems as though, one way or another, Witten has risen to the top.
New general manager Brian Gutekunst displayed some efficient maneuvering in helping Green Bay stock up for the future while still addressing a big need. By trading out of the No. 14 spot with the Saints, he picked up a first-round pick in 2019 as well as a fifth rounder this year. Then, leveraging two of the league-high 12 picks with which they entered the draft, the Packers moved up nine spots to No. 18 to take cornerback Jaire Alexander, a player they likely would’ve considered at No. 14. And with 11 selections remaining (including four in the fifth round), Green Bay has enough ammo to move up on Day 2.
I’m more of an all-purpose back, can definitely catch the ball out of the backfield, can run by splitting tackles and I’m a one-cut stretch zone runner, Franklin said. I can take tosses, sweep and you can even put me in the slot. I can pick up blitzes, I can read defense, just do whatever the coach needs me to do. I Cheap European Soccer Jerseys can hit, light somebody up on special Cheap Hats And Jerseys teams, just want to make a 53-man roster.