UPDATED: Detroit Lions draft WR Travis Fulgham, RB Ty Johnson in 6th round

Lions turn to offense after 4 defensive picks

ALLEN PARK — The Lions drafted wide receiver Travis Fulgham (Old Dominion) with the 184th pick in the sixth round, then took a breath and selected running back Ty Johnson (Maryland) with the 186th pick.

Fulgham, who is 6-2 and 215 pounds, walked on to Old Dominion with only two years’ playing experience in high school and worked his way into a scholarship quickly. Fulgham contributed as a redshirt freshman (6-89-8.9) and then started all 13 games in 2016 (29-478-16.5, eight TD). His game took a step back in 2017 (30-394-13.1, one TD) with only seven starts in 12 appearances.

Fulgham formed a strong duo with Jonathan Duhart in 2018, joining his teammate on the second-team All-Conference USA squad and leading the conference with 1,083 receiving yards (63 receptions, 17.2 average) and scoring nine times in 12 games (eight starts) for the Monarchs.

Growing up his favorite wide receiver was Randy Moss.

“But over the past few years, Larry Fitzgerald, ‘Megatron’ (Calvin Johnson Jr.) of course, Detroit Lion, you know. I definitely watched a lot of his film throughout my career and I’ve tried to pick out little things from numerous amounts of receivers,’’ the wide receiver said.

“Fulgham is a big, competitive target with above-average ball skills, but a lack of separation traits could limit his ability to uncover against NFL press corner,’’ per NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein.

Johnson, who is 5-foot-10 and 208 pounds, had success returning kickoffs for touchdowns both at Michigan Stadium and at Ohio State. He became just the fourth Terrapin to surpass 4,000 all-purpose yards last October.

He’s not sure what his role will be with the Lions.

“It could be anything. I just want to come in and if it’s at kick return, that’s fine. If it’s at running back, it’s fine. I just want to come in and be one of the biggest contributors on the team and just play and win,’’ Johnson said in a conference call.

He’s already familiar with Ford Field where he played with the Terrapins in the 2016 Quick Lane Bowl. He scored on runs of 62 and 30 yards.

“It was a great experience. I’m just really excited to be a part of that and be a part of that field as a Lion. Just keep the games going, keep that performances going. I’m just ready to get there and learn and do what I can,’’ Johnson said.

He is one of four players in Maryland history to record at least 10 100-yard rushing games. He rushed for 1,004 yards as a sophomore in 2016 setting the Maryland record for yards per carry (minimum 100 attempts) at 9.1.

As a senior started in nine games, missing the final two due to a calf injury.

In earlier rounds the Lions drafted tight end T.J. Hockenson in the first round (eighth overall), linebacker Jahlani Tavai in the second (43rd overall), safety Will Harris in the third round (81st overall), defensive end Austin Bryant in the fourth round (117th overall) and cornerback Amani Oruwariye in the firth round (146th overall).

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Detroit Lions: Three take-aways from GM Bob Quinn’s pre-draft press conference

He would like to trade down from the 8th overall pick

ALLEN PARK — Is Bob Quinn trying to send out secret messages about his NFL draft plans?

That’s doubtful, but  the Detroit Lions GM has been pretty clear that he wouldn’t mind trading down in the first round.

He reiterated that stance on Thursday during his annual pre-draft press conference. The Lions have the eighth overall pick in the NFL draft — and eight additional picks. The draft starts next Thursday, April 25, with the first round. Second and third rounds will be drafted on April 26, with the final rounds on April 27.

Quinn estimated that he and his staff have evaluated 1,800 prospects in preparation for his fourth draft for the Lions.

Three thoughts to ponder:

1. While he’s willing to trade down, don’t expect him to move up. “There’s a couple players at the top you obviously would love to have, I just don’t think I have enough ammunition to get up there,’’ Quinn said. “I think, like I said previously, I’d rather move back a couple spots if anything. So there’s definitely good players at the very top, there’s good players at 8 too, guys that we’re excited about. Hopefully a couple are there and we can choose from a couple of them.’’

He’s open to most anything. He would trade down into the 20s if that deal made sense and he could still grab a player that he wanted.

“It’s hard to say right now, to be quite frank, some teams in that 13-15 they don’t want to do anything. You get an offer from 21 and it looks really good and you look at the board and saying 8 to 21 is 13 spots — there’s 13 good players I like there,’’ Quinn said. “You do the math and think I could at least get that guy and then evaluate from there.’’

2. Fan sentiment plays no role in his draft decisions. None. This should be obvious, but there are still fans who will groan if he drafts a tight end (or even a wide receiver) in the first round. That’s because they were disappointed in first-round tight ends Eric Ebron (2014) and Brendan Pettigrew (2009).

“In all due respect to the fans out there, I can’t take the fan sentiment to who I draft and who I sign to this team,’’ Quinn said. “I wasn’t the person who drafted Eric so I think it’s two different conversations.’’

3. In the last few weeks, Quinn and his staff have been taking their time and going through special teams rankings from the scouts and coaches. Quinn said some of the players haven’t been on special teams since 2016 which makes it a little more interesting.

“Really the final piece of the puzzle is how much special teams value does this player have. Because ultimately in fourth through seventh (rounds) nd rookie free agents that’s really how guys end up sticking on the team,’’ Quinn said. “They could be a really good receiver but have no special teams value and you look at it the other way — you know if they have really good special teams value you know they’ll be able to get on the bus, go to the game, be on the 46-man roster and work it out there.’’

That’s exactly why a guy like running back Zach Zenner, an undrafted free agent, stuck around and got a chance on offense. Same with several other players on the Lions’ roster in recent years.