By Michael Stets
ALLEN PARK – The Lions had a pair of picks in the sixth round of the NFL Draft, one they already had, and one they inherited on Day 3 after trading with the Atlanta Falcons.
With pick No.184, the Lions drafted Old Dominion wide receiver Travis Fulgham, who is just the second player ever to be drafted from the college after Oshane Ximines was taken by the New York Giants in Round 3 to become the first.
Fulgham, 23, was a three-year starter for the Monarchs. He finished his senior season with 63 receptions, 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns. He earned All-CUSA honors and led the conference in yards per game (90.3).
Fulgham, 23, is listed at six-foot-three and weighs 215 pounds and posted a 4.58 40-yd dash time at the NFL combine. The Athletic’s NFL Draft guru Dane Brugler had this to say on Fulgham: “Overall, Fulgham isn’t a twitchy athlete and needs time to fine-tune the details of the position, but his basketball athleticism is evident with his body control, adjustment skills and strong hands, projecting as a No. 4 wide receiver with starting upside.”
“I feel like I’m a receiver that can definitely make some big plays for the team,” Fulgham said in a conference call with local media. “I’m a polished route runner and I can run any route on the route tree. I can definitely move the chains for any football team.”
With parents who were foreign service officers, Fulham was born in Ashland, Va., but grew up abroad and lived in countries like Jordan, India, Egypt and South Africa before moving to the states for high school. A standout in soccer and basketball, he didn’t begin playing football until his junior year of high school. The Lions’ newest wide receiver will look to carve out a role among a wide receiver group that includes Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola, who signed with the team in free agency.
With pick No.186 in Round 6, which the team inherited from Atlanta, the Lions took Maryland running back Ty Johnson.
Johnson, 21, was not a bell-cow type of running back for the Terrapins in 2018, finishing the year with just 509 yards on 77 carries with three touchdowns. He finished his college career with 4,196 all-purpose yards and earned All-Big Ten Honorable Mention in both his junior and senior seasons. He excelled on special teams, though, averaging 25.3 yards on kickoff returns with two career touchdowns. And that’s where he will likely earn a role on the Lions in 2019 with Kerryon Johnson fully entrenched as the team’s starting running back, plus C.J. Anderson and Zach Zenner in the running back room as well.
On what his role may be, Johnson told the local media in a conference call, “It could be anything.”
“I just want to come in and if it’s at kick return, that’s fine,” he continued. “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.”
Returning kicks, he said, is something he enjoys.
“I mean, I’ve been doing it ever since I was little, so it just came naturally. Just being able to have that, those extra steps, like, leading, running into the ball. Having a few steps while catching the ball to get the wheels turning, you know, I love that. Just being able to have that whole open field, being able to see it. When you’re a running back, you know, you’re only five yards behind the line. But at kick returner, you can see the whole field before any of the blocks really happen, so I like that part of it, and it’s a good thing.”