Using Fanspeak’s On The Clock mock draft tool, I conducted a full 7 round draft. Typically I do not feel it relevant to post the results here, but with the draft starting on Thursday, and this week being dedicated to NFL Draft coverage, I thought I would share what would be a dream draft for the Lions if they cannot make any trades at all. Below are the picks that I made for the Lions.
1. Defensive End – Kevin Dodd – Clemson: Many mock drafts have the Lions going defensive end in the first round. It is a clear need with only Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor returning thus far. Locking down one of the better defensive ends in the draft to add to their rotation would only help the defense get better.
2. Tackle – Jason Spriggs – Indiana: Spriggs is one of the most athletic offensive linemen in the draft. Former offensive linemen will tell you that the footwork is key to being a successful lineman and Spriggs has the athleticism to excel there. He posted 31 reps at bench in the combine, which is good considering the biggest knock on him is his play strength. He projects as an eventual starter at left tackle and considering Riley Reiff‘s impending free agency, Spriggs is a must.
3. Defensive Tackle – Maliek Collins – Nebraska: Collins is a 3 technique defensive tackle who thrives in a pass rush defense. Much like former Cornhusker and Lion Ndamukong Suh, Collins is at his best when he is plowing forward on every play trying to blow it up. Not much of a run stopper, Collins seems best fit in Teryl Austin’s defense.
4. Safety – Justin Simmons – Boston College: Simmons is slower than I would like at safety and he does not fit the need of an in the box safety like James Ihedigbo was, but he seems to fit as an Isa Abdul-Quddus type of coverage safety. Simmons has been linked to the Lions all offseason so his selection makes sense and adds competition to the open safety spot.
5. Corner – Sean Davis – Maryland: Davis is another player recently linked to the Lions. He has good size at 6’1″ and ran well at 4.4 at the combine. The size and speed combination make him an excellent option outside across from Darius Slay. He will likely need time to acclimate to the NFL speed as Slay did, but he could be an excellent addition for the future of the defense.
5. Wide Receiver – Malcolm Mitchell – Georgia: Mitchell does not have ideal size given the Lions current lack of height at receiver with Calvin Johnson‘s retirement but what Mitchell does have is good speed. With receiver being a position of need and the fifth round being the ideal spot to take one, Mitchell seems to fit here.
6. Running Back – Keith Marshall – Georgia: If Marshall had not gone to the same school as Todd Gurley, we would be talking about him as a first round pick and not a sixth round pick. Marshall’s combine showing made him a favorite of mine. He is big, at 220lbs and fast, posting a 4.31 forty time at the combine. Marshall is knocked for not having elusive moves, but given the Lions desire for straight ahead runners, and Ameer Abdullah‘s ability to shake and bake, Marshall seems like the perfect fit to combine with Abdullah for the future of the Lions backfield.
6. Defensive End – Matt Judon – Grand Valley State: Matt Judon is a workout warrior from a small school. With the lack of competition a concern and expectations of him struggling to compete at the NFL level, he did post among the best at his position in terms of speed and strength, leading me to believe that Kris Kocurek can mold him into a future starter at the position.
6. Outside Linebacker – Jatavis Brown – Akron: Another small school guy, Brown was among the best at his position in the MAC for three years. His has 4.4 speed and decent size. He projects as a hybrid safety and linebacker which is actually best for the Lions. They run more nickel than 4-3 due to the amount of passing downs they see. A hybrid like Brown allows them to play base 4-3 while keeping enough speed on the field to cover receivers and tight ends. Working Brown out in coverage drills while polishing up his tackling technique and strength could turn him in to a Kam Chancellor type of player but at the linebacker position.
7. Quarterback – Kevin Hogan – Stanford: Hogan is one of the few quarterbacks consistently linked to the Lions. While it isnt clear whether they draft a quarterback or just sign undrafted free agents, Hogan seems to be one of two that the Lions really like with Jake Rudock being another. If Hogan is still on the board in the seventh, the Lions could take a chance and draft the 3 year starter who showed good improvement every year he played.