Obviously the Lions can go with any position at any point on draft day. We’ve watched some surprise picks over the years, Pettigrew, Delmas, Levy, Spievey, and Best are all solid examples. When you consider that list comprises 5 out of the 8 picks the Lions have had in the first three rounds under Martin Mayhew, I think it’s fair to make that assumption. I think the other fair assumption is that talent has been valued over perceived need.
Currently by my last count the Lions have picks in every round but the 6th. The 7th round it isn’t sure whether it’s an original pick or the Jet’s pick. That’s pretty much a non-factor though.
Let’s look at some of the players that may be available and options in each round. Guys to be mindful of for draft followers. I think it’s safe to say a QB is highly unlikely so I won’t be looking at any QB prospects. Every other position is fair game.
The first round all depends on what happens before your pick. The Lions will take the best player they can get within reason.
Von Miller and Akeem Ayers are the most likely linebacker prospects at this point but Ayers is high risk and may fall. Miller may not be around when the Lions pick.
Nate Solder is a real possibility to take over as a future franchise left tackle. He has bust concerns but is physically impressive. His draft position is somewhat unpredictable. I say he ends up in the top 10 because of the position he plays. I just expect a team to fall for him, so to speak. It is almost Valentine’s Day.
The corner class is impressive this year and there are 5 first round candidates in my opinion. Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara headline the class but Aaron Williams, Jimmy Smith, and Brandon Harris are all first round prospects. One or two of them could fall into the second round thanks to the need for Quarterbacks and the strength of the defensive line prospects. If any one of those 5 guys were available in the second round I would consider them to be the best available for the Lions most likely. The thing about corners is that they are highly unpredictable and without looking up the numbers, I would guess the bust rate to be high. The draft stock of a corner is greatly influenced by raw combine numbers so many of these guys could rise or fall and a few other second round guys could fly up the board like a Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
I don’t see a center or interior lineman worthy of a top 15 pick. Yes, that includes guys like Pouncey. He is a second round prospect that is being buoyed somewhat by his big brother. He may be a really good guard or center but has a way to go, most likely. I don’t see defensive lineman being a consideration unless an elite talent like Bowers is still there for some crazy reason. I would hope to trade down if that was the case.
There are 2 high level wide receivers and 1 high level running back in Mark Ingram. I see several other wide outs and backs being mocked in the first but I think many of them are overrated including the Virginia Tech running backs, Torrey Smith from Maryland, and Mikel Leshoure from Illinois. Good players but second to fourth round guys in my opinion.
Ingram is a possibility. He is underrated in my opinion. Ingram is a great running back prospect who could be a real, every down running back. I think he will be in the hunt for rookie of the year if he gets on the right team.
A.J. Green would be a steal outside of the top ten and is one of the top 5 prospects in the entire draft. Julio Jones is a solid talent, I don’t know that I would spend a top 15 pick on him in Detroit but they could do worse.
All in all this year has some perceived strengths and weaknesses but as evaluations occur the true first round guys will emerge. I think there are several players that are still somewhat unknown and will move significantly. Nate Solder and Cameron Jordan have already begun the process. Jimmy Smith, Robert Quinn, Ryan Mallett, and Adrian Clayborne are all on my watch list to move around a lot.
I’ll look into some of the guys I see in the second round next. Thank you for reading and for your feedback.