Detroit Lions Draft Jackpot: Sione Vaki's Versatility Earns High Praise

It’s a tossup between him and Wingo that l am most anxious to see how they compete.

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I actually think Vaki will be the quickest rookie to make an impact.


Special teams?

Special teams + offensive packages. I think he can make a few flash plays on defense too, though I think his opportunities there will be limited at first. Primarily it’s ST + offense.

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If Williams makes the team, I’d put he and Vaki back there at KR. I think it’s a perfect combo for the new rules. Even have the throwback potential one way. Wouldn’t shock me if even Vaki may throw it a bit but that’s a total guess. And Vaki had some Wildcat mesh plays last year and Williams did a ton of zone read when he was a QB. So you have some ball security confidence if you want to do some scissors action. Those two would essentially open up
the playbook to “Fipp”.

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Yeah there’s been a lot of talk about having a guy who can throw it, starting of course with the idea of Fields being a return man (I feel like I’m the only who thinks he could be really good at it). Williams probably won’t break any long ones, but I feel like the new dynamic will be to try and squeeze multiple 20+ yard returns out of the KR game, rather than trying to make house calls.

I also think you will have more OL on the kick return teams, which might explain why we’ve hammered that spot with UDFAs. In fact it could be the main reason we brought in Clemens. He could thrive in this new KO world.

Are they hoping Vaki is the replacement once Monty’s contract is up?

Unlikely. Will they accept it if it turns out to be the case? For sure. But I think they want Vaki as an offensive weapon than anything else. Not as many touches as a true RB, but highly impactful. Think James White, Curtis Samuel, Percy Harvin… more along those lines.

And while many see returner and think of the sort of fringe roster guy a returner has traditionally been, the new return rules are gonna make that role DRASTICALLY different and far more important. Pretty much every kick-off will be returned now, and as mentioned in another thread, Vaki is a savant at breaking-tackles. He’s gonna touch the ball on kickoffs alone more than anyone not named Gibbs, ARSB, Jamo, Monty or LaPorta. Coupled with 3-5 touches/game on offense, he might end up touching it more than Jamo.


Add UDFA Steele Chambers to the list, for me.

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While I like the addition of Chambers, it’s a very deep room and he is unlikely to make the 53. And even if he does, he will surely play almost nothing but special teams this year (unless we are hit very hard by injuries). I understand liking him - I really like a couple of the UDFA centers this year as well - but I doubt we’ll be able to see them compete much at all, outside of the preseason.

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I’m intrigued by his abilities on both sides of the ball. If he can translate that to the NFL, and contribute on ST, he’s definitely worth a roster spot.

Prediction: the Lions trade David Montgomery next offseason and roll with Vaki as the RB complement to Gibbs.

Not sure how much we’ll get for an almost 28-year-old RB with a pretty good-sized salary and cap hit (especially for a RB). Also he’s good, works hard, is a good blocker, teammate and willing sharer of the ball. I’ll be really, really surprised if Vaki shows so much it forces our hand to trade Monty. Because that’s the only way I see us moving on.

We could trade him back to the Bears, where he would be a much better, and cheaper option than than the FA rb they just signed.

Ha, that seems even more unlikely.

sorry but our running would take a BIG hit if Monty was gone, he’s been a good get for us and why give him back to the Bears? So they can have a solid 1-2 punch @ RB with Swift & Monty !?

Yes, Netflix is Mr. Reliable as a backup to Montgomery + his blocking. I see him staying in that role. We need our own Devin Hester for a change! I could see Vaki fulfilling a role like that. That would be incredible.
People might question Brad’s picks sometimes, but if he uncovers a star in every draft, then we are golden, imo.

He runs way more physically than any of those guys. If he’s that type of guy he’s more Rex Burkhead but with significantly more juice. Could that be the downhill guy in a tandem. I think so.

I think that a Monty to Vaki succession plan is definitely in the map of possibilities. Due to a myriad of factors, in particular sample size concerns, it’s really hard to gauge. Extreme variance on offense. Pretty high floor as a ST and as a hard hitting reserve Safety if it comes to it.

I don’t think they know exactly what they have. They were just very comfortable with the risk/reward profile and really liked the player.

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Yeah it was definitely more of a usage comp than a stylistic comparison. He definitely has the build of a guy that can take more carries, I just don’t think that’s how he’ll be used. Maybe once Monty is gone, but I wouldn’t say that’s the plan. Now if one or the other goes down things could change, but that’s true all over the roster.

Again part of this is because I believe returner is going to go from end of the roster fodder to one of the most important weapons on the team. That will be his primary purpose, at least at first. And I think he’ll be great at it.

I think the return man aspect was clearly important. And potentially personnel protector as well. That he’s plus on every package on teams allows them to use a premium pick despite not knowing what we really have in him. I did think he looked like the real deal but I also thought Kevin Maas was on his way to being Lou Gehrig.

I also think that he should have the versatility to fill in for either Gibbs or Monty is an important feather in his cap. I had voiced my concern about what a longer term injury to Gibbs might mean for the passing attack. He eases those concerns for me.

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