With Last Pick, Lions Draft Another Asset For Running Game

Bawden was the lead blocker for the country's top rusher each of the last two seasons.

Will Burchfield
April 28, 2018 - 6:50 pm
Nov 24, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego State Aztecs fullback Nick Bawden (15) is defended by New Mexico Lobos linebacker Everett Powell (57) during the first quarter at SDCCU Stadium.

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Bob Quinn vowed to address the Lions' woeful run game this offseason, and so far he's pulled out all the stops. First he hired a new offensive line coach in Jeff Anderson. Then he added some depth at center and guard in free agency. Then he spent a first-round pick on center Frank Ragnow, a second-round pick on running back Kerryon Johnson and a fifth-round pick on tackle Tyrell Crosby.

And Quinn capped off the draft by selecting fullback Nick Bawden in round seven (No. 237 overall). Bawden was the lead blocker for the country's top rusher each of the last two seasons at San Diego State. The converted quarterback is said to have embraced the physicality of his new position. 

On top of his blocking ability, Bawden's an adept pass-catcher and a threat in play-action. He caught 30 passes for 240 yards and one touchdown over his final two college seasons.

As a three-star quarterback in high school Bawden had offers from Harvard and Washington, among others. But he struggled mightily under center as a freshman at San Diego State, and his coaches asked him to change positions after the season. He agreed after some initial resistance and eventually found his niche. 

Bawden should help a revamped Lions run game that finished last in the NFL in rushing in 2017. He'll also provide a safety valve in the passing game for Matthew Stafford. 

"Having balance on offense is important," Quinn said on Friday night. "As you guys know better than anybody, I don’t think we’ve been the most balanced offense the last few years. I think that was a priority in the offseason to improve the running game. I think I said that here in January, so that was something we set out (to do) in free agency, in the draft. We’re going to continue to look at every avenue to improve that. I think we’ve done that the last couple days.”