OK, I am going to toss out my first mock draft of the off-season. Like all mocks, there will be varying degrees of agreement from the PoD community. No problem, that is expected.
Keep in mind that I picked these players because they could be available at the places that I select them. but there is no guarantee that they will. All of them are generally in the rounds that they are expected to be drafted. But as you move down the draft board it becomes very hard to predict who will be there.
Round 1: Brandon Harris or Jimmy Smith, CB
Round 2: Bruce Carter or Mason Foster, OLB
Round 3: John Moffit, C/G
Round 4: John Clay, RB
Round 5: Jonas Mouton, OLB
Round 6: no pick
Round 7: DeAndre Brown, WR
I firmly believe both Brandon Harris and Jimmy Smith will move up the draft boards before late April and that by the time the Lions get to pick neither of them will be much of a stretch at pick 13. This same move up the boards makes it unlikely that either of them will survive until the Lions pick in the second round. So I feel we will need to take them in the first round or lose them.
I would take Carter over Foster if he is there. But Foster is a fine consolation prize if Carter is gone.
Moffit fits the C/G role that we need to solidify the offensive line. Using him flexibly will allow the Lions to kill two birds with one stone.
John Clay is the big bruiser that the Lions need to complement Jahvid Best. He would allow the Lions to come out of the huddle in a 21 personnel look (2 RB, 1 TE, 2 WR) and them either keep both backs in the backfield or put best in motion to line up as a WR. Just another fun way to create the need for the defense to read and adjust.
Jonas Mouton is my pick for a sleeper at OLB. I would have waited for the sixth round to take him if the Lions had a sixth round pick. I believe that Muton has the basic skills needed to be a good linebacker in the NFL. He can contribute on special teams immediately and develop into quality depth or possibly even a starter over time.
DeAndre Brown is big and fast. He has been an impact player in college and it is worth a seventh round flyer to see if he can do it in the pros. The read on where he will go in the draft is varied because he has not been a consistently hard worker. But I feel that having money at stake and other guys on the team in his face will help him see the light. But there has to be something wrong with a player for them to drop to the seventh pick. An attitude can be adjusted. Lack of talent cannot.
In addition to these picks the Lions should try for a linebacker and a safety in free agency.
The Lions might target Stephen Tulloch at the linebacker position, Now that Fisher is gone in Tennesee it looks like the Titans are in for a bad couple of years. Tolluch might be looking for a change of scenery. This would imply that Deandre Levy would move to the SAM position, but not necessarily. Tulloch might be asked to play SAM as well. Since Tulloch played OLB positions at NC State that is not out of the question. Making this move allows Tulloch to move into the middle if Levy gets hurt.
My choice at safety would be to sign Champ Bailey to play at free safety and let Delmas play strong safety. Since Bailey would only have a couple more years left it allows Amari Spievey and Randy Phillips to develop under a couple of great players. Bailey is clearly a stopgap at the position in order to allow somebody to develop.