The Detroit Lions selected Travis Swanson with pick NO. 76 in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Swanson figures to be the center of the future, while longtime Lion Domonic Raiola may retire at the end of his one-year contract.
Initial reaction: Bothered and confused.
Lions management voices a win-now approach, but this pick does not match up with the sentiment. If Raiola stays healthy in 2014, Swanson won’t be seeing a down. Other than added offensive line depth, Swanson will have no impact for this year’s team.
Meanwhile, safety Terrence Brooks, listed at the bottom of my latest mock draft, was available, just waiting to improve the Lions pass coverage. Three picks later, the Baltimore Ravens took Brooks. My acid reflux took its cue, shooting up my throat and into my mouth. Tasty.
Swanson’s 6-foot-5 , 314-pound frame had him atop the center power rankings at the beginning of the 2013 college season. After lacking any real growth from his previous year, Swanson dropped a couple spots to emerging talents around the country but remained an elite center.
At pick NO. 76, the Lions did not reach for what many scouts have as the third ranked center in the country. His greatest assets are his intangibles like strong leadership and instincts, much like Raiola. A two-time captain at Arkansas, Swanson will provide stability on the field and in the locker room.
My problem is not with where Swanson was drafted, but that the Lions are being hypocritical with their “win-now” stance and are continuing to avoid other, much more pressing needs.
James Ihedigbo is not good enough in pass coverage to be a starting safety! His skills strictly benefit run support, but the Lions real weakness last season was against the pass. Detroit continues to be void of a free safety who can improve that situation. GM Martin Mayhew, obviously, believes in Ihedigbo more than I do, or he would pick another safety already!