Mel Kiper's New 2011 NFL Mock Draft Has Lions Picking Tyron Smith

MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans flanked by Tyron Smith #70 and Ronald Johnson #83 runs off the field after the Trojans scored a touchdown during the first half of the game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on September 18 2010 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis Minnesota. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Since the NFL Combine came to a close last week, seemingly every 2011 NFL mock draft out there has predicted the Detroit Lions to pick USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith. Before the combine there were a variety of names thrown around for the Lions' first-round selection, but now the general consensus is that Smith will be the pick.

Mel Kiper's latest mock draft, for example, has the Lions taking Smith. Before the combine Kiper was on the Jimmy Smith bandwagon and had the Lions taking him to fill their need at cornerback. Jimmy Smith is now not predicted to be off the board until the Ravens go on the clock with the 26th pick, and Kiper no longer sees any of the available corners as having the value of the 13th overall selection.

Unless the Lions can trade down, right now Kiper sees Tyron Smith as the best pick. He says that the Lions have a need to protect Matthew Stafford, and Smith is a guy that could potentially take over for Jeff Backus whenever that time comes. Smith is also described as an underrated run blocker, which is definitely something the Lions didn't do too well until their winning streak last season.

SB Nation's 2011 NFL mock draft also has Tyron Smith going to the Lions.

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