2014 NFL Draft: 10 Possible First-Round Picks for Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions: 10 Possible First-Round Picks
Not many people saw the Detroit Lions struggling so mightily that they would end up with a top-10 pick in the upcoming NFL draft, but that seems to be somewhat of the norm for this franchise. In fact, in 10 of the past 12 NFL drafts, the Lions have had a top-15 pick. Yes, that is something that a struggling franchise can be known for -- choosing early and choosing often in the NFL draft.
With the 2014 NFL Draft just a couple of months away, it seems like it's the right time to begin speculating about who the Lions will choose with their first-round selection. Many people have already made it known who they would like the Lions to get with that choice, but it's more about need than anything.
So what are the Lions' needs for the upcoming season? Well, free safety could be one with the departure of Louis Delmas -- something that may hurt the team if a top free safety isn't drafted. Cornerback is another position that needs to be filled and upgraded. The Lions' secondary hasn't been great for the past few seasons and it seems like an early choice of a cornerback can change that.
How about the offensive side of the ball? Many Lions fans cringe at the thought of taking a wide receiver in the first round ever since the failed picks of Charles Rogers and Mike Williams. Sure, those two didn't pan out, but just take a look at how Calvin Johnson has been. With the best wide out in the league on their squad, why do the Lions need a top wide out? Calvin needs some pressure to be taken off him as he has been the main target for years and it's starting to wear on his body -- he needs some protection. Tight end could also be a possible target with the team's first-round pick as Brandon Pettigrew is likely heading for free agency.
Let's take a look at the possible choices for the Detroit Lions with the 10th overall pick -- ranked from worst option to best. Let me know if you disagree.
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10. Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
Many are weary of drafting Barr in the top-half of the first round. He is the second-best linebacker in the entire class, but many are worried that he is too much of a project. As a converted running back, Barr has great speed on the defensive side of the ball, but he's easily fooled on play actions and reverses. While the Lions could use some linebacker depth, Barr might be too big of a risk.
9. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
There's never enough lineman depth for any team and the draft's best tackle will easily be a top 10 pick. However, it's not necessarily a need for the Lions at this point -- although it wouldn't hurt. Robinson is a big bruiser and one heck of a run blocker, but his pass protection could use some work.
8. C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
Mosley is rated as the third-best linebacker overall in the class and the best inside linebacker. While the Lions already have a C.J. Mosley on the roster, this one could be a serious depth-enhancer to the middle linebacker position. While Stephen Tulloch had his best season as a pro in 2013, adding Mosley could do nothing but help. Mosley is a great competitor and is great on and off the field, but he is a bit injury-prone which could scare Detroit away.
7. Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
The chances of Khalil Mack dropping to the Lions are slim to none. Mack is the best linebacker in the class and could end up running away with the defensive rookie of the year award for whichever team lands him. He will likely be a day one starter for any team that snatches him up and there aren't too many weaknesses in his play. The high-motor LB could be a star one day and there is no way Detroit passes up on him if he drops to No. 10.
6. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Mike Evans is hardly the top receiver choice for the Lions, but if there are no other top wide outs left when it gets to the 10th pick, they should consider picking the Texas A&M standout. While the Lions need a solid wide out opposite Megatron, Evans likely isn't the answer, but he's certainly a possibility. He has great size and can leap over the smaller cornerbacks, but his lackluster speed is something that might veer teams away from drafting him.
5. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Unlike Evans, Marqise Lee could translate much better to the NFL because of his above-average speed and ability to create with the ball in his hands. If the Lions are looking for another Titus Young-type without the off-field problems, Lee could be their guy. However, he has been a bit injury-ridden in his final year -- or so -- at USC.
4. Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
While tight end isn't the highest priority heading into the draft, Ebron may be the most beneficial addition of any -- if not a wide receiver. Many have compared Ebron to the most athletic tight ends in the NFL and could be a complete change of pace for defenses that are used to big, slow TEs. Ebron is an athletic specimen and could be an instant star and contributor, but time will tell if he has what it takes to make all the catches at the next level as his drop percentage at North Carolina was an elevated 11.43%.
3. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
While picking a cornerback in the first round as early as the Lions are drafting is a huge risk -- especially judging on the past few years -- Gilbert is a serious stud at the position. Although many scouts have been worried about his motor and temper, Gilbert is a very speedy corner and can keep up with elite speed in the NFL. However, his lack of physicality and personality issues might be something that the Lions should stay away from.
2. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Dennard might be the best cornerback in the class and he is -- unlike Gilbert -- just as good on the field as he is off it. The Michigan State corner has nice size and athletic ability which are two things that NFL teams look for in a starting CB. He could come in and contribute instantly. He was nicknamed the "No Fly Zone" at Michigan State because of teams' inability to complete passes when thrown to his side. Can't beat a Jim Thorpe winner at cornerback for the 10th overall pick.
1. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
There may be no possible way in which Sammy Watkins drops all the way to the Lions. This year's top wide receiver is highly sought after and could be a reason the Lions trade up in the draft. Watkins is scary fast and has great breakaway speed -- he could be a big play guy that plays opposite of Megatron who the Lions desperately need. Johnson and Watkins could end up being a better duo than Chicago's Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.