By Chris Loud @cfloud on April 8, 2014
Draft day is Christmas for teams like the Detroit Lions. They’re contenders, and they have a decent pick. They’ve made strong moves in the offseason, and they’re just looking for missing pieces. For true Lions fans, those pieces could mean the difference between witnessing your team play in February or witnessing yourself eat your way out of sadness at the Super Bowl snack table yet again. So what gifts can fans expect to unwrap this year?
The Lions still could use some talent at safety, and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor has been largely considered at least the second best safety in the 2014 NFL Draft behind Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama. Pryor should drop to the Lions, and he did visit Detroit recently. But if they’re going defense at this pick, I’d bet on a CB or a LB.
Since Shaun Hill was let go (mistake) and Dan Orlovsky was brought back as a backup for Matthew Stafford, folks are still assuming the Lions are snagging a QB in the draft. While it might be smart to get someone with a little more potential than Orlovsky, the Lions need experience at the backup position. Names like Aaron Murray, Connor Shaw and James Franklin have been rumored, but don’t expect them to go for a QB in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Despite his alleged reputation-crushing brush with the law, Michigan’s Taylor Lewan is still the best lineman on paper in the 2014 NFL Draft. He’s visited with the Lions, which only fueled the rumor fire that was already burning. He’s the height of LeBron James, weighs 309 pounds and was a two-time All-American. If he drops, the Lions could always use another block of unmovable muscle.
Khalil Mack has been grabbing attention as a versatile outside linebacker. With Jadeveon Clowney getting all the buzz on the defensive side, Mack has slipped a little under the radar. He’s all over the place when it comes to his projected draft position, but if he slips to the Lions, don’t be surprised if they snag some talent at linebacker. He fits into their scheme and has proven the ability to drop back into coverage.
Sammy Watkins of Clemson is rumored to be on everyone’s draft list, because nearly every team needs a receiver. When the Lions picked up Golden Tate, for me that crushed the Watkins rumor. Watkins’ teammate Martavis Bryant visited the Lions, and with Watkins over-shadowing his ability, he could be a steal in later rounds. Bryant has great length and speed, and he could be a perfect way to spread the defense away from Calvin Johnson.
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