Going back over the 2017-2021 drafts, these three former Detroit Lions draft picks may be done in the NFL.
The Detroit Lions, by most reviews, have done well in the two drafts helmed by general manager Brad Holmes. Going back over the team’s recent draft history, say the last five drafts before this year, there are certainly some misses. But there may be more hits than you realize, and yes the previous regime gets its share of credit for that.
The average career span in the NFL is still around three years (a little over, for full disclosure). For every Tom Brady, there are dozens of guys that last only a season or two.
Going back to the 2017-2021 drafts, here are three former Lions draft picks who may be done in the NFL.
Note: Lions defensive tackle John Penisini, a sixth-round pick in 2020, announced his retirement Saturday morning after two seasons. He will not be on this list.
3 former Detroit Lions draft picks who may be done in the NFL
3. Jahlani Tavai
The 43rd overall pick in the 2019 draft of the University of Hawaii, Tavai played 31 games with 16 starts over two seasons with the Lions. After being waived last August, he landed with the New England Patriots and suited up for 13 games–mostly as a special teamer (195 snaps vs. 56 defensive snaps).
Tavai may be able to stick in New England again this year as a non-descript backup and special teamer. But it’s just as likely he’s a training camp cut, and he finds himself looking for a gig sometime in August.
Drafting Tavai where he did was a mistake by Bob Quinn, as was the follow-up by Matt Patricia to play him as much as he did.
If Tavai is looking for a new team during training camp, the bet here is no one comes calling and he’ll eventually be looking toward a future where he’s not playing in the NFL.