With the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine set to begin this week, it’s time to take a look at which direction the Detroit Lions should head in this year’s NFL Draft.
The 1st Round of the draft will be held on April 27th beginning at 8 p.m. ET, with Rounds 2-3 taking place on April 28th beginning at 7 p.m. ET, and Rounds 4-7 rounding things out on April 29th beginning at Noon ET.
ESPN, ESPN2 and NFL Network will all provide coverage of the draft. Online streaming will also be available on NFL.com.
Quite a few players improved their stock during Senior Bowl week and have definitely put themselves on the radar of many teams around the league.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Detroit Lions Perfect Pre-Combine NFL Mock Draft.
1. Round 1 – Taco Charlton (DE) Michigan
The Detroit Lions MUST improve their defense and you can bet your bottom dollar that general manager Bob Quinn will use the draft to do just that. In my eyes, Taco Charlton has been and is still the best fit for the Lions when they select 21st overall in the first round and if he is available it would be a mistake not to take him.
One of the best ways to stop an opposing offense is to get in the quarterback’s face early and often. By putting Charlton opposite Ziggy Ansah, the Lions pass rush would improve immediately.
2. Round 2 – Chidobe Awuzie (CB) Colorado
If Jourdan Lewis is around when the Lions select in the 2nd round, they absolutely must grab him. That being said, the chances he is around at pick 53 seem to be getting slimmer and slimmer as the days go by. The only question about Lewis was his size, but after weighing in at 188 lbs at the Senior Bowl and then faring very well all week long, his stock is on the rise.
With their second pick, the Lions could very well look to draft a cornerback to play opposite of Darius Slay and Chidobe Awuzie would be a nice fit.
3. Round 3 – Kareem Hunt (RB) or Joe Mixon (RB)
Ready for some breaking news? The Detroit Lions need a running game!
With Ameer Abdullah expected to be back to his old self when the season begins, the Lions could decide to roll with him, Theo Riddick, and Zach Zenner in the backfield.
That being said, if either Joe Mixon or Kareem Hunt happen to be available in the 3rd Round, the Lions have to pull the trigger, even if it means trading up to grab them. Mixon, had it not been for his off-the-field issues, would certainly go by Round 2 at the latest and could be a steal for whichever team selects him. Hunt impressed scouts with his performance during Senior Bowl week and has been climbing draft boards everywhere.
4. Round 4 – Zach Banner (OG) Southern California
After taking a DE, CB, and RB in the first three rounds, the Lions could go in a couple of different directions. They could go after a defensive tackle or linebacker if one slips to the third round, or they could look to solidify the offensive line. I fully expect current RG Larry Warford to be playing elsewhere in 2017 and if OG Zach Banner is available when the Lions select in the third round, they should take the mammoth OL out of USC.
5. Round 5 – Devonte Fields (OLB) Louisville
First of all, there is no question about it that Devonte Fields has had off the field issues in the past, including being accused of punching his ex-girlfriend and threatening her with a gun in the summer of 2014. He will be forced to answer some very difficult questions leading up to the draft, and how he answers them will likely determine if a team is willing to roll the dice.
Fields is a player who has the talent to go well before the fifth round, but if he slips, the Lions should give him a chance.
*Note: If the Lions do happen to get Mixon in Round 3, this pick becomes unlikely because it would be a double roll of the dice.
6. Round 6 – Javarious Leamon (OT) South Carolina State
There is a decent chance the Lions lose both OT Riley Reiff and OG Larry Warford to free agency which means they will have to rebuild the right side of the offensive line. If both of those players do leave the Lions, Bob Quinn will be forced replace them via free agency or wait for the draft.
Javarious Leamon has great size at 6-foot-7, 328 lbs, but would definitely be a project type player for the Lions moving forward as he is extremely raw. He would have to be taught the proper way to play tackle in the NFL to have a chance of getting playing time but has the size and athletism for NFL GM’s to take a long, hard look.
7. Round 6 – Riley Bullough (ILB) Michigan State
One of the thinnest positions on the Lions is linebacker and they absolutely must improve before the 2017 season begins. A local talent that could help provide depth is Riley Bullough out of Michigan State. Bullough does not have great speed and this may be a bit of a reach as he could go undrafted, but it could be worth the risk for the Lions.
8. Round 7 – Josiah Price (TE) Michigan State
Josiah Price is only 6-foot-3, but the Detroit Lions need some help at tight end, especially considering Brandon Pettigrew will not be around moving forward. If the Lions feel like Price has any chance of playing at the next level, they should select him with their final pick of the draft.