Lions Take Travis Swanson In Third Round

May 9th, 2014

Jeff Risdon

With the 76th overall pick, the Detroit Lions opted to select Arkansas center Travis Swanson. He is the heir apparent to Dominic Raiola, who figures to move on after 2014.

I like the concept here: get the future starter into the system for a year and groom him. It worked well for Riley Reiff behind Jeff Backus. I’m just not sure Swanson is the best guy for the job.

I am definitely sure he was not in my top 5 choices for the pick here. Players I would have selected over Swanson include:
North Carolina DE Kareem Martin
Florida State safety Terrence Brooks
Penn State DT DaQuan Jones
Lindenwood CB Pierre Desir
Florida CB Jaylen Watkins

My quick-twitch reaction from Twitter:


As I thought a bit more about it, I understand the pick more. Swanson was realistically the last starting-caliber center prospect in this draft. The more I watched of guys like Bryan Stork, Gabe Ikard and even Dillon Farrell, the less I liked them. Tennessee’s James Stone intrigues me, but he’s either really great or really bad from week to week.

So I do get the rationale of Martin Mayhew and his staff. They wanted to get a future starter here, and they believe they did that. I’m not so sure; Swanson projects a lot more like a top interior reserve or functional starter than a long-term answer. He would have looked a lot better in the fourth round, though it’s iffy he would have lasted that far.

Many will lament the Lions not taking a defensive back here. Here’s what you need to know, and it’s something that several of us have been trying to convey for months now:

The Lions are going to live or die with the young talent at corner. They have 8 CBs under the age of 28 on the roster. Four of them were drafted within the last two years. Two of them, Darius Slay and Chris Greenwood, played pretty well late in the year. They’re quite happy with Bill Bentley in the slot. They love having veteran Rashean Mathis, who was solid last year, back in a starting role.

I pass that on without judgment. Right or wrong, like it or not, that is Detroit’s plan. I can tell you they are pretty confident it will work, in part because they believe the defensive front will be more effective at finishing the pass rush up front.

That doesn’t preclude them from taking a corner like Desir or Walt Aikens later on, though I suspect if the team addresses the secondary tomorrow it will be with a developmental safety.

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One Response to “Lions Take Travis Swanson In Third Round”

  1. Jeremy says:

    I so badly wanted them to take Terrance Brooks or Brandon Thomas, oh well, too late now.

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