Will Harris Jersey

For the second time in Day 2 of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Lions have bolstered the defensive side of the ball with the selection of defensive back Will Harris out of Boston College. The Lions moved up seven spots to take Harris, giving up one of their sixth-round picks (204 overall) to do so.

Harris (6-1, 207) played all over the field at Boston College as both a free safety and in the box. His athletic traits are off the charts, running the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds at the Combine with a vertical of 36.5.

He was a four-year starter at Boston College, and one of the defense’s key leaders.

“I’m ready to rock,” Harris said in a conference call Friday night. “There was no one-set scheme that was necessarily my fit that I was looking for. With that said, it worked out perfectly with Detroit picking me. That worked out perfectly being reunited with coach P (Lions defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni). I’m excited about this scheme. It should be a lot of fun.”

Harris started all 12 games as a senior, making 75 tackles and intercepting one pass. He has the size and speed to match up with pass-catching tight ends, and should be a staple on special teams early on. He’s a hard hitting defender with speed, which could fit nicely into a multiple scheme like the one the Lions run.

“Three-year starter, team captain, versatile guy, playing strength, speed,” Lions general manager Bob Quinn said of Harris as a prospect.

Quinn thought Harris was one of the better players at the Senior Bowl in both the practice and game settings. Quinn was also impressed when he visited Boston College and the staff there raved about Harris.

Quinn said the staff at Boston College described Harris as the heartbeat of their defense. Those are the kind of players he’s trying to add to Detroit’s roster.

The Lions look to have terrific depth and versatility in the backend of their defense with Quandre Diggs, Tracy Walker, Andrew Adams, Tavon Wilson and now Harris.

Jahlani Tavai Jersey

Allen Park — Last year, the Detroit Lions caught everyone off guard with their first-round pick. This year, they waited until the second round of the NFL Draft to surprise observers, selecting Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai No. 43 overall Friday night.

General manager Bob Quinn raved about Tavai’s versatility, as well as his unique skill set and body type being a strong fit for Detroit’s defensive scheme.

“Very unique with his body type, his playing strength, his ability to rush, cover, play the run, throw special teams in there as well,” Quinn said. “It’s just something where these guys are hard to find really felt fortunate to be able to get him because there was some interest in and around our picks that we were getting pretty nervous there for a few picks.”

A four-year starter, the 6-foot-2, 250-pounder racked up 124 tackles in both 2016 and 2017.

Tavai took an official visit to Detroit during the pre-draft process and said he also talked to the team during the scouting combine in February.

Many draft analysts weren’t keen on Tavai’s potential heading into the draft, with most viewing him as a Day 3 selection. But at least a handful saw a Day 2 talent, including The Athletic’s Dane Brugler, who mocked the linebacker to the Patriots in the third round.

Quinn noted part of the team’s evaluation is the scarcity of the position in the draft and how many other teams might also value a linebacker with Tavai’s body type for their scheme.

A shoulder injury and a one-game suspension, following an arrest for assault at a night club, limited him to eight games as a senior.

According to Hawaii News Now, Tavai was arrested along with a teammate for third-degree assault after they were involved in an altercation with a man who allegedly pushed a woman to the ground

In a conference call with Detroit media, Tavai declined to comment on the incident. Quinn said they discussed the issue with Tavai, multiple times, are are comfortable it was an isolated incident.

“Everybody in the building sat down with him,” Quinn said. “He told the same exact story that he told us at the combine. It was very consistent from point A to point B. He made a mistake. You guys read the articles. You know what it was. I think a lot of people in this room would’ve stepped in and tried to do the right thing as well. It was unfortunate. He made a mistake, and we are totally fine with him character wise, 1000 percent.”

Tavai played outside linebacker as a freshman, but started in the middle his final three seasons. He anticipates starting out as a Mike in Detroit. Jarrad Davis is the current starter in the middle for the Lions, but could be shifted to a different role in 2019 to better utilize his pass-rush ability.

Prior to the Lions’ selection, there was a run on cornerbacks, with four coming off the board the first 10 picks of the day. Washington’s Byron Murphy, Temple’s Rock Ya-Sin, Central Michigan’s Sean Bunting and Clemson’s Trayvon Mullen were all taken before the Lions were on the clock.

Also selected were several popular names linked to the Lions, including wide receiver Deebo Samuel and offensive linemen Cody Ford and Dalton Risner.

T.J. Hockenson Jersey

Kirk Ferentz calls it “the curse of being the younger brother,” but for new Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson, it turned out to be quite the blessing.

Long before he was a football star and the Lions’ newest first-round draft pick, Hockenson was the youngest of three sports-minded brothers growing up on a patch of property in Cherokee, Iowa.

In his never-ending quest to keep up with boys 11 and 15 years his senior, Hockenson almost always had a ball in his hand. If his brothers were out back playing baseball, he was there, too, getting his cuts in. If they were downstairs shooting pool, he would rack the balls and wait his turn.

The Hockensons lived on a quiet street with four or five houses, their fenceless backyards one big field that made it the perfect place for any kind of game.

More often than not, that game was football. And rather than just toss the ball around, T.J.’s older brothers, Andy and Matt, made him work to catch it.

“Moonballs,” Andy said. “We were just launching these things.”

Andy and Matt would throw the ball across as many backyards as they could, and T.J. had to sprint his little legs underneath and catch it. If he didn’t, his punishment was a lap around the block.

The games started when T.J. was 4 or 5 years old and continued almost daily till his brothers were off at college.

T.J. said his brothers got a kick out of “chuck(ing) the ball at my face,” but by the time he was 7 or so, he wasn’t running many laps around the block anymore.

“That’s kind of how he always was,” Andy said. “I’m 15 years older than he is and so when I was in high school and playing sports he was always trying to get right in the middle of it all, which was cool. But that was one thing my mom would always get very angry about was that we didn’t treat him like he was a 5-year-old, we treated him like he was one of us. So it was kind of the thing, if he wanted to hang out and play with us, it was, ‘You don’t get any favors.’ ”

Hockenson didn’t need any favors.

When the family moved to Chariton, Iowa, in middle school, he was a budding star on the baseball diamond and basketball court. He golfed. He fished. And he had a pair of special hands that got him recruited by Ferentz to Iowa, hands he credits now to those games of catch with his brothers in the backyard.

“I’m not taking any credit for any of that,” Andy said. “That’s 100% him wanting to be in the middle. He could have had us doing all these things and he wanted nothing to do with it. But we used to have kind of an open great room in our house and I would take, like I had a broomstick and little golf-ball Wiffle balls, and I would hit those with soft toss, or I’d throw to him. And he’s in a diaper, and he’s got this little Bamm-Bamm, like little red kind of a plastic bat. And I would stand on one side of the living room and I’m throwing these things hard. And he’s got this little Bamm-Bamm bat just going, ding. And he’s standing there with nothing but a diaper on. I distinctly remember him just standing there with a diaper on, him just dinging them. And my mom’s screaming over here as those balls are going everywhere, my mom’s screaming, ‘This is why we can’t have nice things.’ ”