2014 NFL Draft: 5 Players Detroit Lions Should Target With No. 10 Overall Pick
5 Players the Detroit Lions Could Take With the No. 10 Overall Pick
With every end comes a new beginning, and for the Detroit Lions, that new beginning seems to take place every spring at the NFL Draft. Last season, the Lions had a stellar draft class in comparison to years past.
Ezekiel Ansah proved to be worthy of the Lions’ fifth-overall pick last year, leading all rookies with eight sacks and also tallying 32 tackles and two forced fumbles. Combined with Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the middle, Ansah helped make the defensive line one of the most formidable in the league. Devin Taylor was another player the team added in the fourth round who added to the depth of the defensive front with tough play throughout the year.
Darius Slay was drafted in the second-round and was a solid fill-in corner throughout the season. The Lions also nabbed Appalachian State punter Sam Martin in the fifth round, and he was sixth in the league in average punt yardage and fifth in the league in net punt average. Perhaps the team’s biggest steal in the draft was taking Kentucky offensive guard Larry Warford in the third round. Warford showed consistent play throughout the season and proved himself to be a Pro Bowl-caliber offensive lineman in the future.
The Lions’ 2013 draft class changed the trend of the franchise’s tendency to draft the wrong players. The team now has foundations set at nearly every position, but still has some glaring needs heading into next season. Here are five players that the Lions should target with their first-round (No. 10 overall) pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
5. C.J. Mosley
C.J. Mosley is coming off an impressive senior year for Alabama in which he racked up 106 tackles (62 solo) as well as being named the 2013 Dick Butkus Award Winner, which is given to the nation’s most outstanding linebacker. Mosley is an intriguing option here for the Lions because he is as smart and talented as they come today. He would be a great addition to a linebacker core that includes the likes of DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch.
4. Justin Gilbert
One thing that stands out about Justin Gilbert is his size. At 6-foot tall, Gilbert has the physical ability to go head-to-head with any big receiver in the league, which will be critical for the Lions when going against teams such as the Chicago Bears, who have two physical receivers in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. Gilbert tallied an impressive seven interceptions this year. A lot of experts have him as their no. 1 cornerback in this year’s class, but he is second to Darqueze Dennard in terms of ball skills and shutdown ability in my opinion. He would be a nice second option at cornerback.
3. Mike Evans
Mike Evans is just a sophomore coming out of Texas A&M, but he plays like a seasoned veteran. His size, strength and speed combination is second to none in this year’s draft class. Evans totaled 1,394 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns as Johnny Manziel’s top target. He showed off his remarkable big-play ability throughout the season in games such as the one against the Auburn, where he tallied four touchdowns.
2. Darqueze Dennard
The Lions have had a historic tendency of having a poor secondary. Darqueze Dennard is coming off of a Thorpe Award-winning season, and is the best shutdown corner in college football. He even sports the nickname “No Fly Zone”. He totaled four interceptions this year, which is an impressive amount for the few times he was actually thrown towards this season. Quarterbacks almost refused to go his way. A press corner that can hold his own in man coverage is exactly what the Lions need to make their defensive line more productive in getting to the quarterback.
1. Sammy Watkins
Calvin Johnson is possibly the best receiver in the history of the game, but let’s face it, he can’t carry the entire receiving load for this team. Sammy Watkins is the best option at receiver if he is available here. Watkins has explosive speed and elusiveness. He cemented his place as the top receiver in this year's class with a monster game against Ohio State in the Orange Bowl. He would be a huge playmaker for the Lions, as well as a viable deep threat who can stretch the field across from Johnson.