LEVI TO DETROIT WITH THE 41ST OVERALL PICK
After Joe Tryon was selected by Tampa Bay with the last selection in the 1st round it seemed likely that a pair of teammates would join him shortly today. Levi Onwuzurike and Elijah Molden were projected by most analysts to be 2nd round picks and at least one part of that came true.
The Detroit Lions stood pat with the 9th pick in the 2nd round and selected Onwuzurike to become the newest member of their defensive line. New Lions head coach Dan Campbell made headlines during his intro speech when he preached playing physical football including biting opponents’ knee caps in order to win games. Well Onwuzurike clearly endeared himself to the Lions brass with his introductory press conference with the Detroit media.
Levi Onwuzurike, with an all-timer of a quote: "I like fucking people up. I like to get off the line and just put my helmet or my hands on an offensive lineman and fuck up an offensive scheme, pretty much. I like pushing 'em back 2, 3 yards and just making 'em feel like shit."— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) May 1, 2021
The Lions don’t exactly have a lot of stalwarts along their defensive line but they also don’t have many stars. Utah nose tackle John Penisini is the only defensive lineman under contract past this upcoming season and so this was a pick for Detroit aimed at the future and likely represents a best player available approach. The Lions followed up the selection of Onwuzurike by taking NC State defensive lineman Alim McNeil so they started out the draft with 3 straight picks along the trenches after selecting Oregon OT Penei Sewell yesterday.
Unfortunately Detroit has lost their potential claim to be the #1 team of the Washington Huskies after Desmond Trufant, Danny Shelton, and Hunter Bryant have all been let go by the Lions after being acquired in the last few years.
MOLDEN TO TENNESEE AFTER A LONG WAIT
It seemed like it would be only a matter of time after Onwuzurike was selected that fellow defensive stud Elijah Molden would join him as an official NFL selection. But pick after pick in the 2nd round went by without Molden’s name being called. Ultimately 3 corners were selected in that round but none of them were Molden.
Then in the 3rd round 3 corners went off the board in the first 15 picks including Stanford’s Paulson Adebo but again no Molden. The 3rd round involves the compensatory free agent picks and so there are more than 32 picks in the round. Dallas came up with the 36th pick in the round and had been viewed as one of the neediest teams for secondary help in the entire draft. In the 1st round they had the top-2 corners taken just before them and despite taking Kelvin Joseph from Kentucky in the 2nd round still needed help. And sure enough they took a Pac-12 corner. But it was Nahshon Wright from Oregon State who most analysts viewed as a fringe player to even be drafted.
Fortunately the Tennessee Titans were the next pick at #100 overall and finally stopped the slide. You can be sure that if Molden ever plays Dallas that he is going to absolutely ball out in retaliation for that decision. Then again, every team in the NFL passed on Molden at least once so he’ll justifiably have a massive chip on his shoulder. And I don’t want to be the guy going up against Elijah Molden when he feels slighted. Have fun with that, rest of the NFL.
Our own Gabey Lucas had thoughts about Molden’s slide:
Ya know in the Always Sunny kitten mittons video when Charlie Kelly looks at the camera and goes "You are SO. STUPID"? That's me at every GM right now letting Elijah Molden go— UW Dawg Pound (@UWonSBN) May 1, 2021
WHAT TO EXPECT TOMORROW
Rounds 4-7 of the draft start at 9a PT tomorrow and the question of the day is how soon will CB Keith Taylor be selected? Molden’s positioning in the slot seemingly caused him to slide one round further than expected but Taylor seems like he’s at the least a comparable prospect to Oregon State’s Nahshon Wright and is a similar build. If he goes in the 4th round that would be entirely reasonable but his 0 career interceptions could also give teams pause and precipitate a slide as far back as the 6th round.
In the late rounds of the draft the question will be can Josiah Bronson get drafted? Honestly it’s almost certainly a better thing to not get drafted rather than go in the 7th round since it allows you to pick the team among a few interested parties as a UDFA. I think it’s more likely than not that Bronson goes undrafted but it’s possible he hears his name called near the end of the draft. If not then he’ll certainly be signed within a few hours. QB Kevin Thomson could theoretically get a UFDA deal to make a training camp but otherwise it will be a quieter UFDA period than last year when several Huskies signed shortly after the draft ended.