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NFL Mock Draft 2018: Detroit Lions pick a first round running back

With the 20th overall pick in the 2018 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Detroit Lions GM dshelton5 selects ...

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU

Detroit hasn’t had a 100 yard rusher in a little over 4 years. FOUR YEARS! That’s an astonishing level of mediocrity on the same level as that year when the Chiefs went a whole year without throwing a touchdown to a wide receiver. That doesn’t seem like it should even be possible. Someone had to have broken off a 75 yard touchdown run and found 25 more yards to luck into a 100 yard game at some point in 4 years right? Nope, the Lions have played 70 games since they had a 100 yard rusher, and there have been 430 century yard rushing games across the NFL since Reggie Bush did it for Detroit on Thanksgiving Day of 2013. That list includes household names like the Giants’ Orleans Darkwa (twice), Packers third stringer Aaron Jones (twice), former Eagles legend Bryce Brown, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, and Browns quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Kevin Hogan (!!!). There have only been 5 times in that span where a Lions player has broken 80 yards rushing!

This lack of a rushing attack has left Matthew Stafford to carry the entire Detroit offense more or less by himself. They look similar to the Saints teams from a few years ago where Drew Brees was forced to put the team on his back and throw for a million yards if they wanted any chance of winning the game since their defense sucked. Brees is, um, very good, so he was able to put up a lot of points and keep the Saints competitive, but Matthew Stafford is not Drew Brees and a one-dimensional offense does not scare defensive coordinators whatsoever and is not a winning formula. Offenses as predictable as Detroit’s where defenses are able to sit back in coverage and let their pass rushers pin back their ears and eat are actually the source of Jim Schwartz’s fever dreams. If the Lions want to seriously compete in a suddenly loaded NFC, they need to add an at least respectable running game to their offense. Last year, the Saints drafted Alvin Kamara, and he (along with Mark Ingram finally putting it together) suddenly made the Saints into a balanced offense that were a nightmare to scheme against and almost impossible to stop. The Lions have the chance to give Stafford some help and do the same thing this year.

Which brings us to Guice. The LSU product possesses an elite combination of power and quickness that makes him exceptionally difficult to tackle. He runs a hard-nosed, nasty, downhill style, but also has the quickness, sub 4.5 speed, and open field moves to make people miss when he needs to. Guice punishes defenders at the end of runs and tends to wear down defenses by the fourth quarter. These all sound like words that Tony Romo would use to describe Legarrette Blount, but don’t get me wrong, Guice is not Blount. There aren’t many running backs described as “tough” and “physical” that can be seen returning punts, but Guice also has the kind of elusiveness and playmaking ability that made LSU trust him to return kicks. If I saw Legarrette Blount returning a punt for the Eagles last year I would have double-taked hard enough to snap my neck. But it’s not just Guice’s physical skills that make him worth a first round pick. He is a decisive runner with great vision that would change the entire complexion of Detroit’s running game.

Most mock drafts would say Detroit picking Guice at number 20 would be a bit of a reach, and many are of the opinion today that running backs are a dime a dozen these days, that it’s stupid to take a running back early in the draft. But we’ve seen the kind of impact taking a back like Ezekiel Elliot or Leonard Fournette can have on a team’s offense, and I think Guice is being a bit undervalued. Detroit needs some help on defense, but there are plenty of defensive starters to be had later in the draft, and a special talent like Guice probably won’t be there by the time the Lions pick again in the second round. There are lots of years where Guice would be the best running back in the draft and perhaps a top 15 pick, but there are a couple factors dropping his draft stock, namely some guy named Saquon Barkley who makes every other running back in this draft class look like little boys. Guice has also been dropped some on draft boards because he didn’t have as good a junior year as expected, but that was mostly due to a knee injury he played through the entire season. Even with the sore knee, Guice was still able to showcase his skills during his junior year in games like this one against Ole Miss where he rushed for 276 yards on just 22 carries:

The knee zapped some of his quickness and breakaway speed, but he still breaks tons of tackles and falls forward for an extra yard or two on almost every run.

Guice’s career path at LSU is a lot like his former teammate Leonard Fournette. Both had big, breakout sophomore years followed by junior years where they came in with Heisman hype only to have somewhat disappointing years due to lingering injuries. Fournette completely transformed the Jaguars offense and made the usually putrid Jags offense and Blake Bortles look… competent at times, so if Guice provided a similar lift to the Lions running game, their offense could go from good to scary.

Guice could use some work improving his pass blocking (what college RB doesn’t) and pass catching if he wants to become a true three down NFL back, which makes Detroit a great fit for him. Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick are solid receiving backs that Guice could learn from, and meanwhile he could provide immediate impact on first and second down. Picking a defensive player might be the logical, cookie cutter choice here for the Lions, but this is the Detroit Lions we are talking about here! They haven’t been logical or safe in 50 years! They could be boring here and draft someone like Maurice Hurst or Harold Landry who could help out some on defense, or they could take a game breaking player who can change the entire dynamic of their offense. Guice at the very least I think will be a solid running back for Detroit, and he has the potential to be a home run pick for a city that has been longing for a great running back since Barry Sanders retired.


Do you approve of this pick?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    (354 votes)
  • 34%
    (184 votes)
538 votes total Vote Now

2018 BGN Community Mock Draft Order

1) Browns (GMinTraining): Saquon Barkley

2) Giants (ablesser88): Quenton Nelson

3) Jets (20Safety_Hazards): Sam Darnold

4) Browns (MJ1893): Josh Rosen

5) Broncos (drc242): Baker Mayfield

6) Colts (I Need a Username): Bradley Chubb

7) Buccaneers (dunc123): Minkah Fitzpatrick

8) Bears (NVEagleShark): Tremaine Edmunds

9) 49ers (Doug Pederson’s Pair of Balls): Calvin Ridley

10) Raiders (Milehighbirds): Derwin James

11) Dolphins (danishdynamite_): Roquan Smith

12) Bills (LAOJoe): Denzel Ward

13) Washington (Eagle1987): Vita Vea

14) Packers (89Tremaine): Mike Hughes

15) Cardinals (RimoDawkins): Josh Allen

16) Ravens (PhillyEagles2011): Mike McGlinchey

17) Chargers (LBCeaglesFan!): Da’Ron Payne

18) Seahawks (KEZHOG): Marcus Davenport

19) Cowboys (Brawnybalboa): Rashaan Evans

20) Lions (dshelton5): Derrius Guice

21) Bengals (Palaniappan K M):

22) Bills (BeamerWentzorBentley):

23) Patriots (jy1187):

24) Panthers (dceagles):

25) Titans (ei78):

26) Falcons (SakPrescott):

27) Saints (MidMajorMatt):

28) Steelers (SummersInVA):

29) Jaguars (RecarTabmok):

30) Vikings (AnthroEagle):

31) Patriots (PhilaWolverine):

32) Eagles (JALupowitz):

Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think the Seahawks should pick in the 2018 BGN Consensus Mock Draft.

1) Browns: Saquon Barkley

2) Giants: Sam Darnold

3) Jets: Josh Rosen

4) Browns: Josh Allen

5) Broncos: Baker Mayfield

6) Colts: Bradley Chubb

7) Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick

8) Bears: Quenton Nelson

9) 49ers: Tremaine Edmunds

10) Raiders: Derwin James

11) Dolphins: Roquan Smith

12) Bills: Lamar Jackson

13) Washington: Vita Vea

14) Packers: Denzel Ward

15) Cardinals: Mason Rudolph

16) Ravens: Mike McGlinchey

17) Chargers: Da’Ron Payne

18) Seahawks: Marcus Davenport

19) Cowboys: Rashaan Evans

20) Lions:


Who should the Lions pick at No. 20?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Derrius Guice
    (88 votes)
  • 6%
    Calvin Ridley
    (18 votes)
  • 16%
    Maurice Hurst
    (43 votes)
  • 7%
    Taven Bryan
    (19 votes)
  • 16%
    Harold Landry
    (43 votes)
  • 3%
    Josh Jackson
    (8 votes)
  • 6%
    Nick Chubb
    (17 votes)
  • 5%
    Sony Michel
    (15 votes)
  • 3%
    Jaire Alexander
    (8 votes)
259 votes total Vote Now

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