April 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm Kiper endorses Lions' strategy, applauds Dwight Bentley pick By Eric Lacy
The Detroit News After two rounds, Mel Kiper said he had only one cornerback rated higher than Dwight Bentley. (Dave Martin / Associated Press)
Detroit — Some Lions fans might not be pleased with the team's NFL draft selections, but ESPN analyst Mel Kiper gave the franchise a "B" grade for its eight players picked in rounds 1-7.
"Overall, they did address the defense," said Kiper, recapping his 29th draft as an analyst.
Kiper told reporters during a teleconference he didn't think the Lions' selections of offensive players in the first two rounds hurt their chances of getting the best defensive players available in later rounds.
Detroit selected Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff with the No. 23 pick and Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles at No. 54 overall in the second round before going for defense in the third round with Louisiana-Lafayette cornerback Dwight Bentley at No. 85 pick.
"They got a guy that was right there," said Kiper of Bentley's favorable ranking on his draft board. "They were fortunate to see Bentley still there."
By the draft's third round, Kiper said he only had one cornerback ranked higher than Bentley — Central Florida's Josh Robinson, who was selected by the Vikings at No. 66.
The Lions appeared to follow a plan in the later rounds that made sense and could take some pressure off the offense this season, Kiper said.
"You have to help out Matthew Stafford and not make him feel like on the sidelines (that), 'Boom, you got to score, you got to score, then you got to score again,'" Kiper said. "Can you hold serve (defensively) at any point? In big games the Lions couldn't hold serve.
"They did address (defense); they just didn't address it early."
On offense, Kiper said he's high on Broyles' potential — if he regains his health. Broyles, the all-time Division I leader in receptions (349), is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee that cut his college career short last November.
"Hopefully he'll be OK and ready to go," Kiper said. "He'll help Matthew Stafford, he'll impact that receiving corps, he'll catch passes, and he'll do a good job. He's got the return ability."
Reiff appeared to be a no-brainer for the Lions in first round, Kiper said, because of his ability to play multiple positions.
"He'll play where you want," Kiper said. "He'll be the heir apparent to (Jeff) Backus at left tackle."
Another player Kiper likes is Albion cornerback Chris Greenwood, a Detroit native selected by the Lions with the No. 148 pick in the fifth round. Greenwood was the MIAA's most valuable player on defense in 2011 and turned heads at Michigan's pro day in Ann Arbor last month when he ran a sub-4.4 40-yard dash.
"I heard his name a lot from teams over the last month after he ran as well as he did," Kiper said.
All of the Lions drafted rookies and undrafted free agents are expected to report to the team's Allen Park headquarters in about two weeks to begin off-season workouts.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/2012 ... z1tbvfRUu9