What the heck, why not delve deeper into the draft. If nothing else, it should provide people with a viewpoint on some different names that might come up, even if it is not the Lions selecting them. There are probably some round two guys on the bottom of my board that will move down into here, and some of my top guys here that will move up unto round two before the draft, but at least this gives us something more than yet another mock to read.
John Moffitt: I am sure this guy hardly needs an introduction around here. An immediate competitor at right guard for a starting job this guy could just be an all pro center down the line. Passing up on this guy if he is there for us in the third round would be a huge mistake.
Curtis Brown: This guy is underrated on many value boards and I think he would be an amazing get in the third round. He is not physical corner but he does have a solid game once you get past that. He can cover in man or zone and opponents tended to throw away from him. He is not our prototypical kind of corner since he is not a physical guy by nature, but if there is a place for a cover corner in our scheme this guy gives amazing value at this point. His ball skills and all around solid coverage tend to separate him from the pack here.
Leonard Hankerson: A big body physical receiver that would lock down the number two spot on the outside for years to come. While this guy is not the best route runner he has very good hands and he is open even when he is not open. He also is a very good deep target. Getting Leonard would add depth to the Lions on many levels. It would give us a guy that can still take the top off a defense if Calvin is hurt or winded. It would also push Nate Burleson inside to the slot where I think his skill set really shines. If the Lions are serious about running more 3 receiver sets this would be an excellent get for us. This also gives us another jump ball player for the end zone. On the down side, it would take him a few years of development to be a complete receiver and he will have a limited route tree in the meantime.
Brandon Burton: This guy has a nice game for a smaller corner. He tends to play the run bigger than his size and is a decent tackler. He has good man skills and decent zone cover skills. He also tends to play the ball better than a lot of corners in this area of the draft. A sleeper pick to be a starting corner for someone this year.
Joshua Thomas: A feisty corner for a smaller guy with an odd skill set. He has enough speed and seems to read plays well enough to make it at the next level. Has decent hips to turn and run, but needs work on man coverage. Excellent at stripping the ball though and causing fumbles. Good zone cover corner. This guy is a bit of a project but he has some nice strengths to his game for a 3rd round corner. If nothing else he could be a solid backup in the nickel position while we try to develop him on the outside.
Martez Wilson: Talk about a quality back up, this guy would be an absolute stud as a back up middle line backer and special teamer in year one. With the oft injured Levy he might just be more value than people realize. I also see him as an excellent developmental WSLB that could lock down a starting job there before his rookie contract is up. Furthermore I think he has the potential to be special there. While his immediate impact on the team will not be apparent to the casual observer, his long term impact on the quality of our line backer unit will be astounding for a third round pick.
Dontay Moch: This guy is a bit of a project but has a huge upside. He has truly elite speed (4.44) to go along with good size (6' - 1" and 245lbs.) which makes him a rare athlete. He started his football career late though and is a bit raw in skills. Some 3-4 team will probably jump all over him as a rush LB as he does have some nice skills there already. You could think of him as an Ernie Sims 2.0 project. Because his weakness is pretty similar, he tends to get washed against the run and needs a ton of work in coverage. But he would be an amazing special teamer and if he could develop better run support and coverage he could end up being an amazing player. If he was not so raw he would easily be a 2nd round prospect.
Mason Foster: Here is where I take the heat from several guys. While I like this guy to plug and play and fill a need short term, I think ultimately he is replaced as a starter within three years. While he is stout against the run I believe that he will be a liability in the NFL on 3rd down in coverage. On top of that he is not anything great as a pass rusher. So what we are left with is a solid linebacker that is a two down guy that is not especially great at anything. While I love his motor and enthusiasm, ultimately he is more of a role player than a starter. There is a long shot that he can be a London Fletcher type of player, however I think he will need to be a 3-4 inside linebacker to have a long career in the NFL.
Gregory Salas: This guy gets knocked down a lot for playing in an over productive spread offense at Hawaii. However I think he would make an excellent slot receiver or even bump outside at times across from Calvin. He does everything well, and while he is not the fastest guy, he is fast enough to be a 2nd or 3rd option for Stafford. Probably the best thing about him is his amazing ability to catch balls that he should not, he has elite hands and should be fine for short and medium routes. Speaking of routes, he runs them very well. If he had more speed he would be a late first round guy.
Jerrel Jernigan: This guy is flying under a lot of peoples radar but he would provide an interesting aspect to our offense at an extreme value in the third round. He is an electric receiver and return man that can score any time he touches the ball. While he is not a huge need in the return game, he can provide us with a solid back up or alternate in that role on top of providing some threat and production from our third receiver spot.
Luke Stocker: What can I say, this guy comes from tight end U, the Tennessee. We all know that Schwartz loves those Tennessee guys right. Well this is a good one, a well rounded tight end that does everything well. I am not sure if he would bump Heller off the roster or we would carry four tight ends, but this guy is worth it. Within a year he will be an every down tight end that can do all you ask him to do. Of course he draws the comparisons to Jason Witten. Ironically he actually has a very similar game. Originally he was thought to be more of a blocking only guy, but he has proven to be much more of a receiver and ran much faster than people thought he would at the combine. The result is that a lot of people had to open their eyes about him but he is still way under valued. When it is all said and done he just might be the best tight end in this draft class.
Marcus Gilchrist: A corner that could convert to safety and be something special for us. If you like Rahim Moore in the 2nd round, you should like this guy in the 3rd round, because they would be very similar players in the backfield. He will not make as many plays on balls as Moore and of course he has some stuff to work on, but that is what you get a round later in the draft. Adds a lot of versatility as a depth player to play corner, safety, and return kicks.
Jaiquawn Jarrett: I nice value pick here he is has a pretty solid game. Some ball hawk skills and decent run support. Always gives good effort and likes to stick his nose in there. If there is any knock on him it is that he needs a little work on run angles and breaking on a receiver in an underneath route.
Ahmad Black: Yeah yeah he is too slow, whatever, this guy is a ball hawk. He always finds ways to be around and play the ball. I don't care if he ran a slow 40 time, he plays big. I would not be surprised at all to see him push both Spievey and Coleman into backup roles. He certainly would push Randy Phillips off the roster.
Virgil Green: While a tight end might be a luxury pick at this point in the draft for us, this guy is pretty special in the passing game and could give us a nice, long term, healthy, replacement for Tony Scheffler.
Johnny White: Taking a 3rd down running back might not be a great option for us, but this guy gives enough teases to make him tempting in the third round. He is elusive and can make guys miss, along with decent power and the ability to push the pile. Unfortunately he does not have elite speed, just average. The fact that he is a return guy does add some value though.
Dion Lewis: This guy is very interesting. He is very small but he is also very strong. He out produced his predecessor LeSean McCoy. While he does not have great speed he does make some good runs and is hard to bring down. He reminds me a lot of a slower MJD. A lot of people label this guy as a 3rd down only back, but I have a sneaky feeling he will be very successful in the NFL. One drawback to his game is that he is not a return specialist. On a side note, how can you go wrong with a guy that was named after Dion Sanders and Ray Lewis ;)
Edumnd Gates: A dynamic play maker this smaller receiver will likely make a splash on some highlights even if he is not a long term player in the league. He can return kicks so there is a versatility factor. He also seems to find ways to get open, way open, like he has some scary game speed. However his inconsistent hands frustrate the hell out of me and I am pretty scared the he could end up being another Dwheelz. Character concerns also push him down the board as he initially was a basketball player that was kicked out of his program. Due to that he is a bit older, a 25 year old rookie. Still, if you buy off on the character concerns he is a good value here.
Kendall Hunter: Kind of a poor mans Ray Rice. This guy is an undersized back with a lot of nice tools to work with, however he will never be physical nor does he posses game breaking speed. He is very much like White above minus the power and he also tends to find ways to get injured. He does show up well in big games though as the Nebraska defense could attest to.
Sam Acho: This guy would be a developmental project as a rush end. Do I need to compare yet another one of these guys to Avril? Yes needs work on the run, yes needs to bulk up a bit. He projects better as a 3-4 rush line backer but could be a solid depth, and rotational player over time. Limited potential will keep him down the list, but amazing intangibles make him a good team fit.
Shareece Wright: This guy actually has a lot of game, good game. He is better in zone than man coverage, but for a zone corner he is pretty physical. He breaks on the ball well and is not afraid of contact, causing a lot of strips and fumbles. He has good speed and athleticism and is good in the hips. Talent wise he could be a 2nd round or early 3rd round corner. However the fact that he struggled with grades, and was charged with resisting arrest, along with some injury concern (neck), he gets pushed down to a value pick in the end of the third round. Personally I would pass on him but if the Lions vett him thoroughly and end up taking him late 3rd or early 4th I would not be upset with it. Given a year or three to develop he could actually be a starting 2nd corner in the NFL. If he can understand the play book and keep his nose clean that is.
Guys other teams may want that I don't in the 3rd round
Quan Sturdivant: While he looks good on tape I think he is too slow to play outside, making him an inside backer only and likely a better fit for a 3-4 team.
Kelvin Sheppard: While a lot of people will think this guy can be developed I think he lacks enough upside to bother with it. Push come to shove I would rather have Moch or Foster as he is kind of a blend between the two players. I would rather go all out with the athletic potential guy (Moch), or take the lower ceiling hard worker that you plug in day one (Foster).
Marcus Gilbert: A 2nd tier tackle that lacks footwork and a mean streak. If he somehow found a mean streak or decided to finish blocks he could be a decent guard, but I don't value guys at guard all that high that are better pass protectors than run blockers.
Lance Kendricks: Too slow for a receiving only tight end.
Lee Ziemba: I see no reason to take a developmental right tackle only project at this point in the draft for the Lions.
Chris Carter: Similar to Acho without as many positive intangibles this guy translates better to a 3-4 rush only line backer. If I am going to take a project guy I take Acho first.
Tandon Doss: While he could excel as a value pick with a weak receiver corps like the Rams, I don't see him being a long term solution in the Lions depth chart.
Daniel Thomas: Someone is going to mistake this guy as a power back because of his size, but he runs upright and goes down easy on contact. He also lacks any real ability to make people miss.