Given the uncertainty surrounding the NFL Draft, it's tough to make many specific predictions that have any real shot of coming true. Especially this year, the draft figures to be wild, chaotic and unpredictable, making it tough to get a read on what might happen. Even so, it wouldn't be fun to not make predictions, so here are five educated guesses on what the Detroit Lions will do in the 2013 NFL Draft:
1. The Lions will draft Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson with the fifth overall pick.
I expect Eric Fisher to be the first overall pick, and unlike many mock drafts, I have the Jacksonville Jaguars going defense (either Dion Jordan or Ezekiel Ansah) rather than offensive tackle. This would make trading up for Luke Joeckel at No. 3 an option, but the Lions won't have the firepower to pull something off. As a result, Joeckel will be off the board (either at No. 3 or to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 4). This leaves the Lions with several different options, and I have them settling on Johnson. The top defensive end (Ansah or Jordan), offensive guard (Jonathan Cooper or Chance Warmack) or cornerback (Dee Milliner) would be intriguing, but the chance to find a potential franchise left tackle will be too much to pass up.
2. The Lions will draft a wide receiver on Friday.
Be it in the second or third round, I expect the Lions to take a wide receiver on the second day of the draft. They need to add someone who can stretch the field and take some of the focus off of Calvin Johnson, and there will be plenty of talented wideouts available at pick No. 36 or 65.
3. The Lions will also draft a defensive end on Friday.
Assuming the Lions don't address their biggest need by taking a defensive end on Thursday, I expect them to use a pick in the second or third round on one. Which round will ultimately depend on who falls at defensive end and wide receiver. The Lions could end up with a first-round-level player at either position with the 36th pick, so that will determine if it's a DE or WR in the second round.
4. The Lions will make at least two trades.
They may try, but I don't expect the Lions to be able to trade up or down from the No. 5 overall pick on Thursday. Even so, there should be plenty of movement later on in the draft. With them picking near the top of every round minus the fourth, the Lions will be in position to move down. At the same time, they could stockpile enough picks to move up later in the draft (perhaps to the start of the fourth round, for example). I think there will be at least two deals involving the Lions in this year's draft.
5. The Lions will draft the following positions in the 2013 NFL Draft: OT, DE, WR, CB, C/OG (someone who has the ability to play both), TE, DT and P.
Essentially, this is a list of the Lions' biggest needs going into the draft. On offense, I think they will come away with two offensive linemen (an immediate starter in Johnson and a developmental interior lineman), a wide receiver and a blocking tight end. On defense, I think the Lions will get a defensive end who can start early on, a developmental defensive tackle and another cornerback to throw into the mix in the secondary. Finally, I do believe the Lions will draft a punter this year to bolster their special teams play.
What are your predictions for this year's draft?