Attempting to evaluate the quality of a team's draft days after it happened is a somewhat useless exercise, but it's hard to not think the board really fell in favor of the Detroit Lions on Thursday night. The Jacksonville Jaguars went against the consensus and picked Georgia defensive lineman Travon Walker first overall, leaving the Lions with their choice of the players who were consistently ranked atop draft boards across the media realm.
Detroit went with the hometown hero, Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson, which was no surprise. Hutchinson was statistically the best pass-rusher in college football last season while living 30 miles east of Ford Field. It was, from every angle, the easy decision, which was exemplified by the speed at which the Lions submitted their pick. Apparently, it was too fast for the NFL.
Peter King wrote in his post-draft column for NBC Sports that the league was upset the Lions picked Hutchinson so quickly:
After the Jaguars picked Travon Walker number one, the Lions told the league the pick was in, and it was Hutchinson—within a minute of the Walker pick. “We turned the card in so fast the league got mad at us," said one Lion official.
The NFL probably tells teams to take their time in the first round because that's when viewership is highest. Even though teams at the very top of the draft have spent months analyzing every possible selection and undoubtedly have their minds made up by late April, there needs to be some drama because that's what makes for good television. Even if it is merely the illusion of drama.