Grading Detroit Lions mock drafts: Who has it right?

Super Bowl week is here! Err… draft week I mean. As a Detroit Lions fan, it's hard to separate the two. It's the most optimistic time of the year, full of hope and a momentarily unblemished record. The NFL Draft makes it seem like anything is possible – even a Super Bowl appearance.

Like millions of other fans, I spend too much time reading and sometimes even getting worked up about mock drafts that are realistically meaningless. Despite this, mock drafts are a long practiced ritual crucial to draft week festivities. Just days away from the real deal, drafts are pouring in from everywhere with last second changes.

But do national pundits really have a good pulse on Detroit's needs? I decided to find out for myself by grading a few popular mocks based on their picks for the Lions including DSN's own.

Each draft was graded on the same criteria:

Availability Likelihood: You can't draft players if they're already taken! Sure Lions fans would love to draft Myles Garrett but it's not realistic. Mocks are docked points if they select players that likely won't be around by that pick.
Fit/Team Need: The Detroit Lions ARE NOT selecting a tight end in the first round! It's not happening! Don't try to shove a 3-4 LB in our system either. Mocks that get value at needed positions grade out much better.
Talent/Value: The point of the draft is to get the best players you can right? Don't give me Demarcus Walker if Derek Barnett is still on the board.
Rounds Mocked: Not all mocks are created equal. Some stop after the first round, while some masochists go the whole distance. I'll take into account up to the first three rounds with declining weight.

Without any further drivel, here are our Detroit Lions mock drafts from the very best to the “are you covering the right sport?”

Detroit Sports Nation – Don Drysdale

Detroit Lions

First Round – Taco Charlton (DE) Michigan
Second Round – Jourdan Lewis (CB) Michigan
Third Round – Duke Riley (OLB) LSU

I don't know what looks worse – falling in love with a draft that boasts Wolverines in its first two picks or having DSN's mock number one. I tried to avoid it but it just makes too much sense. In the first two picks, Detroit would bolster two of their biggest needs with phenomenal players. Charlton would immediately be an impact player on the opposite of Ziggy Ansah and Jourdan Lewis might be the best cover corner in an exceptionally deep class. I will be doing cartwheels and a lot of delirious yelling if Bob Quinn pulls that off. Riley is a bit of a reach in the third for my taste but after those first two picks, I'll allow it.

ESPN – Mel Kiper

Detroit Lions

First Round – Kevin King (CB) Washington
Second Round – Joe Mixon (RB) Oklahoma
Third Round – Tarell Basham (DE) Ohio

I love the position but not the player. I personally think the secondary is the biggest area of need for the Lions but don't love King at 21. I also think the Lions have no business drafting a running back in the first three rounds due to more pressing defensive needs and a better than advertised stable on the roster BUT if they're going to grab one in the second round it doesn't get much better than Mixon. Basham should be able to contribute as a rotational end right away but I'm not sure his ceiling is worth a third round pick.

CBS – R.J. White

Detroit Lions

First Round – Jarrad Davis (LB) Florida
Second Round – D'Onta Foreman (RB) Texas
Third Round – Trey Hendrickson (LB/DE) Florida Atlantic

Don't be shocked if the Lions end up with a draft a lot like this. Jarrad Davis is a good first round pick that could be there when the Lions are on the board. He'd be an immediate starter and can play every position in the middle. You know my take on going running back early this year but Foreman is another I would be OK with if the Lions do go that route. Hendrickson leaves a bit to be desired as a slight reach on a developmental pick but he could be this year's Graham Glasgow. I wouldn't be thrilled with this draft but I wouldn't be jumping off a bridge either. – Chad Reuter

Detroit Lions

First Round – Reuben Foster (LB) Alabama
Second Round – Marlon Humphrey (CB) Alabama
Third Round – Tyus Bowser (OLB) Houston

This would actually be a great draft – if it were possible. Call this the jackpot draft since it would require all of these players falling into the Lions lap. Diluted sample and all, Foster will likely be long gone before the Lions pick at 21. Humphrey MIGHT slip to the Lions in the second due to the depth at corner but even he could go in the first. And Bowser in the third?! Not even in Mario All-Stars. Zero chance. It'd be almost a perfect draft but is likely nothing but a pipe dream. Props for finding players with the right fit but it's not hard when you disregard draft slot.

ESPN – Todd McShay

Detroit Lions

First Round – Takkarist McKinley (OLB/DE) UCLA
Second Round – Chris Godwin (WR) Penn State
Third Round – Bucky Hodges (TE) Virginia Tech

My goodness. McKinley is a solid pick provided he develops as a pass rusher and Teryl Austin does a better job utilizing him than he did Kyle Van Noy. After that, the wheels just come off. Godwin is a nice player but to completely ignore the vast defensive needs of the Lions by going receiver/tight end in rounds two/three is inexcusable. To not only spurn the defense but ignore more pressing offensive needs by going receiver in the second is mindboggling. Fans might riot if the first two days play out like this. I'll have a “fire Bob Quinn” article by Saturday morning.