With the NFL free agency period right around the corner, there is no shortage of ‘expert’ lists telling us who the top available free agents will be.
SB Nation has released their ‘Top 104 NFL Free Agents of 2019‘ list and it included a pair of former Detroit Lions. (Well, technically, one of the two is still a Lion though he won’t be for long)
The two players on the list are defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (No. 20) and safety Glover Quin (No. 72).
Quin was recently released by the Lions while Ansah has almost certainly played his final snap in a Lions uniform.
From SB Nation:
Drysdale: Full Detroit Lions 2019 ‘Perfect’ NFL Mock Draft Vol. 1
Polar Vortex 2019!
What better time than to write up my first full Detroit Lions 2019 NFL Mock Draft?
Let me begin by saying these mock drafts are extremely fluid as free agency will play a huge role in what direction Lions’ GM Bob Quinn decides to go in the NFL Draft.
For example, I personally believe that acquiring an edge rusher should be the number one priority this offseason and I would have to believe that Quinn agrees with that. But if he goes out and signs a big name DE such as Trey Flowers out of New England (yes, please!), the chances of the Lions drafting an edge rusher with their No. 8 pick in the first round would drop, though it is still possible.
This volume of my full Detroit Lions mock draft focusses on what the current needs are at this moment in time as if not a single free agent is signed.
So, with that understood, let’s take a look at Vol. 1 of my full Detroit Lions 2019 ‘Perfect’ NFL Mock Draft.
Round 1 (No. 8 overall) Rashan Gary (DL) – Michigan
Despite not having as much production as many projected him to have at the college level, Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary is the real deal and I have no doubt that he will be a top 10 pick. Gary would fit in beautifully with what Matt Patricia wants to do with the Lions’ defense and if he is available at No. 8, Bob Quinn should not hesitate to pull the trigger.
From The Draft Network:
Rashan Gary is a versatile defender with the needed abilities to be a disruptive force working from 3T. Gary has the ability to set the edge vs. the run and can be worked on the outside sparingly, although his pass rush skills are best utilized in scenarios that allow him to play with linear angles and with his hips aligned behind his pads to optimize his power and quickness.
Round 2 (No. 43 overall) Irv Smith Jr. (TE) – Alabama
2018 proved exactly how important it is for Matthew Stafford to have a tight end who can make plays. When Bob Quinn got rid of Eric Ebron, his game plan was to upgrade the position but as we know, that backfired on him. Some have said the Lions should draft a tight end in the first round, which in my opinion would be a mistake, but selecting Irv Smith out of Alabama in Round 2 would be a huge get. Smith is not only a great run blocker but he can get open and makes plays in the passing game.
From The Draft Network:
Not many tight ends in college football can hold a candle to what Irv Smith did this season for Alabama. 710 yards, seven touchdowns and an average of 16.3 yards per catch are all eye-popping numbers which led to Smith wisely bolting for the NFL following the National Championship Game. There his athleticism, smooth routes and strong blocking skills should translate quickly into a versatile starting tight end.
While Smith may lack elite explosiveness, he still has the speed to win vertically as a flexed receiver while being one of the best blocking tight ends in the draft. The risk of drafting him is minimal, especially if he tests as well as expected. Smith may never be a top 2-3 tight end in the NFL, but he’s fully capable of being among the best in the next tier.
Round 3 (No. 88 overall) Michael Jackson (CB) – Miami
Despite what some fans may think, the Lions’ secondary (outside of Darius Slay) is hot garbage. Unless Slay can cover both sides of the field on the same play (he can’t), the Lions absolutely must give him some help on the other side. The answer could be Michael Jackson out of the University of Miami. Jackson has good size and he is not afraid to mix it up when asked to play man coverage.
From The Draft Network:
Michael Jackson has attractive qualities as a potential starter in the NFL. Jackson’s size and physicality at the line will serve him well on the boundary. Yet Jackson’s lapses in discarding blocks, tendency to grab just a split second too long on breaks and his modest change of direction skills and burst in space pose as barriers that will make him a scheme-specific prospect. Jackson needs to play press-man coverage in order to properly illustrate his strengths.
To read the rest of the mock draft, please click on the link below.