I enjoy reading every mock draft that is created. But predicting what the Lions will do at 23 is pretty futile at this point. Last year, Prince Amukamara was sitting there, waiting to get picked at 13. But we passed on him for Nick Fairley. I know I was excited when our pick came up and we had the opportunity to nab a really good "shut down" corner. So you can imagine my disappointment when we nabbed another defensive tackle with our first round pick. I was furious, thinking "what the hell is Mayhew and Schwartz doing, we got our defensive tackles with Suh and Williams". This was all reactionary, because I wanted fulfill a position of need by getting a top flight corner". I felt anger/ resentment, because we didn't take a corner or left tackle in the first round of the 2011 draft, but I realized that Mayhew and Schwartz have a plan for this team (something Millen never had) and they WILL stick to that plan.
With this draft, don't be surprised if Detroit doesn't pick a corner or a left tackle in the first round,even though we (fans, front office and coaching staff) see it as a huge need. They will draft the best player available on their board, regardless of position (minus QB, Kicker, Punter or long snapper, and possibly d-tackle). Now, if it happens to be a left tackle or corner, then we got the most bang for our buck, but simply looking at corners or left tackles are limiting the possibilities on creating the best team we can. Like with the 2011 draft, we wanted to trade with the Cardinals and get Patrick Peterson, but the deal couldn't get done and we were at 13 looking at a top 5 talent in Nick Fairley, so we pulled the trigger. We didn't settle for the second best corner and take Prince at 13, we looked at our options and stuck to our draft board. Which (in my opinion) payed off and we could have the best two young defensive tackles in the league (as long as Fairley gets healthy and Suh behaves after the whistle).
The Lions can and should build a defensive dynasty centering around what could be the best defensive front in pro football. Which is why, I think that Schwartz and Mayhew will see pass rushing Defensive Ends like Quinton Coples, Andre Branch, Chandler Jones, Whitney Mercilus,and Nick Perry at a higher value in this draft, than some of the corner prospects. THe Giants showed that with a fierce defensive front and decent cornerback play, you can win a Superbowl.
I feel like the Lions won't reach for any players, we don't have too. Of our 11 defensive starters, 10 of them are returning. Pretty good continuity on an ever improving defense. I think we will grab a corner in this draft, maybe in the 1st round or maybe not till the 3rd round. This class has potentially deep talent that can help our secondary , but after Claiborne there really isn't a true shut down corner at this point. If we were picking 5, I would say yes nab Claiborne, but at 23, we are not going to reach for particular player that is ranked lower on the Lions draft board.
In my opinion, the Lions will get two or 3 players with this draft that could play right away, between the interior offensive line depth, defensive end depth, and corner depth in this draft class, we could potientally find a couple pretty good additions that can make an impact right away.
So, I think that we all should look at these players as possibilities. For instance, if other teams draft based on need, who could fall to us at 23? That could make this draft very interesting. There could be good top 20 talent falling to us at 23. Some possibilities could be Riley Reiff, Donta Hightower, Michael Floyd, Jonathan Martin, Mark Barron, Kuechly, Branch, or Jones. Every year there is a player that falls for one reason or another. Maybe that player could be Quinton Coples and if he is sitting there at 12-15, man that is a tempting target for the Lions to go after. I am not saying I want any of these scenarios, but it is better to look at the entirety of the draft and go after superior talent, instead of need.
But keep the mock drafts coming, the more we look at scenarios of who will take who, the better understanding of who could fall to the Lions.I like reading all the opinions and reasons these mock draft "gurus" (Kiper, Mcshay, others) say that the Lions should take a player.Keep them coming, but look at other players that might be falling because other teams might draft on need.
Remember, trades will happen with this draft, and this year teams can trade players for picks, unlike last year, where it was just picks (because of the CBA and lockout). So, we could be seeing a much different draft board on April 26th.
I think Jim Schwartz said it best, "When you try to chase needs - and I think everyone knows what that entails - I think you're just like a dog chasing its tail"