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Mel Kiper: The Lions need a runner, but they will not do a draft in the first round

ALLEN PARK – The Detroit Lions had the worst running game in the league in almost all statistical measures in 2017, and Bob Quinn has said he hopes to improve the running staff this offseason.

But according to the ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., just do not expect it to happen in the first round of the draft.

"I think brokers are (your) biggest need, but you're not going to see one there at that moment," Kiper said in a teleconference with reporters. "So you look at the passers-by who pass by, like I said, I could be a guy like Sam Hubbard from Ohio State."

The Lions currently occupy the 20th overall pick in this year's draft, but the only Kiper runner the projects that will be taken in the first round are Saquon Barkley from Penn State. And he will be gone by then.

So Kiper sent a pass-rusher to Detroit on his first simulation project. And the Lions certainly need help there as well after pushing opposing quarterbacks in just 25.5 percent of their pitches last year. That was fourth worst in the league.

Ezekiel Ansah finished with 12 sacks, which was eighth in the league, but nine came in three games, and six in the last two. Throughout the year 2017 was normal, and now his contract expires in March, which means that Detroit must decide whether to place the franchise tag or sign a new contract or, perhaps, let it walk. .

Either way, the Lions are expected to look for a pass rusher after neglecting the free agency and draft position last year. And Kiper has them doing it with his first choice.

"I gave them Sam Hubbard, the boy from the state of Ohio," Kiper said. "Urban Meyer's connection there with Bill Belichick, you need haste, Ezekiel Ansah is also a free agent."

But, Kiper added, "they also have to get a high-ranking runner, there's just not one." to take at that point. "

Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey were selected in the first round last year – in fact, both were in the top 10 – and both enjoyed productive rookie seasons, but nobody had more rushing yards than Kareem Hunt, and He was led in the third round, so was Alvin Kamara, who averaged 7.7 yards each time he touched the ball.

Can you imagine someone like that complementing Matthew Stafford?

Quinn said he did not regret passing Kamara in last year's draft, but he also said he did not do enough with the staff in the running game last year, so even though there are no runners in the first round, we hope to see him do it sometime in the second or third.

And as Kamara and Hunt showed, diamonds can be found there too.

"In the second round, you could look at (Georgia) at Sony Michel," Kiper said. "In the second or third place, you could look to D Errius Guice (LSU). Ronald Jones of USC is another who could go in the second round. "

Michel is especially intriguing because of his great threat, he averaged 7.9 yards per carry for the Bulldogs last year and scored 16 touchdowns.

Guice reinforced the depth of the class to declare for the draft a year earlier, and ran for more than 1,200 yards each of the last two years, Kiper says it's a first-round talent that should move to the second round.

"I could have I put Guice at the last minute, but I did not find a team for him, "Kiper said." Runners historically fall. Look at Alvin Kamara. He was a third-round draft. Guice is a good player, but he is not as versatile as Alvin Kamara. I see him as a second-round pick. "

As for Jones, he has accumulated 2,568 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns in the past two years, has broken more than 100 rushing yards nine times, something no Lions runner. has done since 2013, and twice exceeded 190 yards.

The 6-foot, 200-pound projects are three laps behind on the next level.

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