Positional value at the top of the first round matters -- how can Lions fans, of all people, not get this?

I’ve worked myself into distress at the scenario in which the Jaguars take Hutchinson instead of Neal with the 1OA.

I’m not nearly as sold on Thibodeaux as I am on Hutchinson, and indeed, Thibs seems to be sliding away from the tippy-top of draft boards.

And if there’s nobody willing to trade up, who do the Lions take? Someone like Hamilton or one of the CBs? At 2OA??

This is where several of you tell me it doesn’t matter, that Hamilton is a transformative yadda-yadda-yadda who’s easily worthy of the pick.

Since 2010, no safety has been drafted higher than 5th overall (It may be much longer than that, but that’s as far back as I went.). In that time period, the average pick in all of those drafts for the first safety taken is 27th.

(Though I’ll admit that the three safeties drafted highest in that time period all turned out to be good – Eric Berry 5th, Jamal Adams 6th, Minkah Fitzpatrick 11th.)

The Lions have been stuck on suckitude for many reasons – almost completely whiffing in the second round forever; squandering too many first-round picks on players who didn’t pan out. But one of the reasons is their absolute cluelessness on positional value – the idea that certain positions get taken up high because of their oversized importance – QB, OT, Edge – and because the required financial structure of a roster dictates that those positions take up the most money.

Meanwhile we have the Lions taken tight ends, plural, higher than any other team; the highest-drafted cornerback in a quarter-century.

News flash: Hockenson hasn’t lived up to where he was drafted. Not even close. He has the stats of just another good third-round TE.

And we won’t talk about Okudah. It still disgusts me. He was drafted at a position where you should have expected someone Deion Sanders-like. He displayed none of that, ever, and now he’s wrecked.

What’s particularly galling to me is that in every case, you have these “experts” matter-of-factly talking about how makes perfect sense to draft Okudah 3rd overall; or Hockenson in the top 10.

I’ve become convinced that the teams that always win blow this smoke at these pundits so they’ll go out and infect the minds of incompetent front offices like the Lions have had.

Hutch or trade-down is where I’m at. God help us if neither is an option.


Good post @Spiel54man

To add to the Lions taking certain positions higher than other teams, don’t forget that we have also taken a center, a guard and a middle linebacker higher than most teams even dream of taking one.

The answer is Thibs. All of this negative stuff is prospect fatigue + subterfuge. The teams who pass on him will regret it. Now it’s on Brad & Co to decide whether they can work with him or not, but from a talent standpoint he’s an obvious pick.


Positional value matters, but what matters more is hitting on the players that you draft. The Lions have sucked at drafting for a long time. If Okudah lit the world on fire, no one blinks or cares or second guesses it. I do agree $ matters, especially when locking up a good player at a premier position for 5 years, but it doesn’t matter if the guy you’re drafting is a bum.

And what do you define as ‘positional’ value? The top-end salaries or the average salaries? Because DEs (3.8m) rank behind:

DT (3.9m)
OLB (5.4m)
ILB (5.0m)
FS (4.8m)
SS (3.9m)

when it comes to average salary in the NFL.

On offense, you obviously have your QBs (10m) and LT (7.7m) RT (5.4m) and C (3.9m). With everyone else averaging 3.2 (WR) or less.


But every draft class every year doesn’t consist of the NFL 100 team.

Why do people expect Jeff Okudah to be Deion Sanders?

“Because of where he was drafted!”


Draft picks are so unbelievably overvalued in this league. I mean why does every 3rd overall pick need to be a hall of famer? This is the only league where that’s somehow the expectation.

Would you rather have Jeff Okudah or the 3rd overall pick this year?

How about Levi Onwuzurike or the 41st pick?

Jahlani Tavai or the 43rd pick?

Draft picks are only worth the players they become. They aren’t worth any more than that.

And I can’t for the life of me figure out why people expect them to turn into more just because of their number.

Sure you want the 3rd best player in the draft class at 3OA, but Amon-Ra St. Brown was the 112th pick.

Does that mean we should expect every 112th pick from now on to be Amon-Ra St. Brown or someone similar?

Why didn’t last year’s 199th pick end up to be Tom Brady?

The team that just won the Super Bowl just won it without making a first round pick in 5 years, and they won’t have one for the next 2. They’re not going to have a 2nd or a 3rd this year either.

Positional value is really stupid anyway, but the notion that a player that isn’t picked to their “positional value” has to be relatively better than someone who is?

Come on now.

Like Hamilton has to be a hall of famer if we pick him at 2 and if he isn’t then it was a waste, but if Hutchinson doesn’t become one then it’s ok?

It doesn’t matter about what positions you take and where, it matters who is taken. By that, I mean if you’re taking a corner 3rd overall, then he should be a good starter and not a Jeff Okudah.

And I might be wrong but I believe that we removed the guy from office that made the Jeff Okudah and T.J. Hockenson picks, and we did so because of how the players he picked turned out. Not what positions he drafted and where.

It doesn’t matter what positions Holmes takes and where he takes them. It matters how they turn out.

And if he takes a safety at 2OA, let’s not demand that he needs to be Sean Taylor or it’s a failure.

Is Zach Wilson a failure because he wasn’t a pro bowler his rookie year? I mean he was taken 2OA. We expect Kyle Hamilton to probably be one if we take him.

No, he’s not, because his “positional value” gives him a longer leash for some reason.


These dudes put heavier emphasis on being an animal of a human and a leader than most do. It’s why I think they value Hutch. Just a guess.

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I agree Hutch seems to be more their speed and I have him ranked higher too for the same reasons. But if Hutch goes #1 that’s irrelevant, and I don’t think our FO will shy away from a talent like Thibs just because he’s not the Dan Campbell ideal. They’re coaches, get the best out of him.


All true. We have been in some weird drafts where nobody was a great choice at our pick too (this feels like one of 'em). I sure wish we would have gotten Herbert instead of Okudah. Stafford is a stud, but you could still trade one of our QBs. What if we could have gotten for Matt (or Herbert), if Goff wasn’t allowed. Even if we didn’t want him, we could have traded him for a pile of draft stock. Patricia and Quinn were pretty awful.


It’s just cause those are more memorable. We got really lucky Sewell fell to us last year, and we got really lucky the Raiders took Jamarcus Russell ahead of Calvin, and the Rams Bradford ahead of Suh. We’ve had some decent luck too.


Positional value is meaningless if there are zero prospects rated worth drafting at the given positional value.

If all of the positional value prospects aren’t worth taking, do you pinch your nose to make sure you get positional value??? Or do you take your best ranked player???

For me…

You either trade out for your best offer or take the BPA, regardless of positional value.

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Your basing your opinion on fact you think they want a rusher.

What if the value this draft getting a top tier WR at cost of 7 mil.

You think they will reup Harris if you do lets say at 6 mil an then adding 7 mil for one of the two at top edge of draft Now you have added 13 mil to cap for couple more edge.

I am not sold they want another pricey edge.

I think they want a bigger edge to go with ones we have.

If they reup Harris i think they may pass on both.

I think they may look to move down an take a big WR I Like Burk but think could be London

I’m of the belief you don’t pass on talent at a premium position for need, no matter your best laid plans. And if our FO believes it can work with Thibs, I think he’s far, far away the best talent available


Sewell stuck out in my mind. I’ll bet he would have went 1 overall if the lions had the pick. I believe Dan’n’Brad got their favorite player in the draft last year at #7

Love it!

So curious to see what they think of the youngsters coming out this year.

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Did I just read, Animals as Leaders?

One of the best guitar players out there, Tosin Abasi.

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And my all time favorite, Packers take Tony Mandarich 1 pick before we take BARRY!!
So much for positional value!

Happy Dance GIF by U.S. Soccer Federation


And we surrounded Barry with first round receivers, guards, linebackers and corners. Which is probably why we only won a single playoff game with the GOAT.


I love Hamilton as a player but I wouldn’t take him top 5. To be honest I don’t think I’d even take him top 10.

The way he plays and the position he plays makes it very hard to get the enough impact out of him for the cost. Positional value matters to me and I agree with you on that. But also what matters is getting a player who will stick on your roster at a high level for many years to come. That’s why OL and DL are so coveted at the top of the draft. They tend to have long careers and big impacts on the game.

Box safeties do not.

Hamilton is not a Free Safety.

All 3 of those guys were Free Safeties and they were drafted high for their coverage abilities.

Two of those players didn’t get a second contract… why? …, because their teams felt thier costs didn’t match their value. The 3rd guy Eric Berry blew his knee out early on and was forced to move to SS. But he did have an excellent career.

I seriously doubt the Lions will take Hamilton at 2OA. Maybe after a trade down. I honestly think that Hamilton could go to the Jets. They have an inexperienced FO and the Jets routinely make bad choices. If he gets past the Jets I think he could fall a little. Probably not to far however. Someone will like his hybrid side and have a plan.

I would take Thibs if a trade down wasn’t an option. There’s legitimate concerns but I think most of that can be corrected with coaching. I also think those concerns are overblown. His upside is tremendous. He’s a top 5 picks based off potential alone.

I 100% would take the picks. No question and I’m not a person who values picks more than players. I just think all 3 were over drafted and haven’t lived up to their draft status.

I 100% disagree. You do not see good teams go against position value. Good teams just don’t do it.

The Lions are relying on the analytics way more now. So if they apply that to the draft and values then they won’t be taking a hybrid safety at 2OA.

And that’s a fair point. But I think that the expectations of draft statuses need to be lowered and that calling Hockenson not worthy of his draft slot is just downright absurd. He’s a top 6 or 7 TE in football. What more do you want out of him? Realistically?

For the record, you didn’t ever say that. I’m referencing the op.

Good teams also generally aren’t in possession of top 10 picks that they would take a Kyle Hamilton with.


Those are my answers, but I’m not sure what the point is.

On the other hand — using the same picks in recent drafts ----

Would you rather have Chase Young or the 2nd overall pick?
Chase Young
Would you rather have Jonathon Taylor or the 41st pick?
Jonathon Taylor
Would you rather have Trevor Moehrig or the 43rd pick?
Trevor Moehrig

So if your point is that you can draft poorly and wish you had the draft pick back (the first set of names), or draft well and glad you made the pick you did (the second set of names), well, yeah, how can you disagree with that?

But that doesn’t have much to do with positional value. I’m not saying you should be a slave to positional value and disregard players because of their position (like Hamilton), but it does matter…I’d treat it as a tie-breaker for closely ranked prospects.

A question for you and the board:
Would you trade the second overall pick this year for Zach Wilson?
If not, what if the Jets threw in their second rounder? would you do it then?