2014 NFL mock draft: The case for Aaron Donald going to the Lions

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Another defensive tackle in the first round for the Detroit Lions? It's actually a pretty interesting idea.

There hasn't been much discussion this offseason about the possibility of the Detroit Lions taking Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald with the 10th overall pick. That's not really surprising, as this position isn't even remotely a need right now. Donald is a talented player, but the Lions are already loaded at defensive tackle with Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, C.J. Mosley, Vaughn Martin, Andre Fluellen and others.

But what if the Lions decide to take a defensive tackle in the first round anyway? They've already gone defensive tackle twice in the first round in the Martin Mayhew era, but CBS Sports' Dane Brugler actually has the Lions taking Donald in his latest 2014 NFL mock draft.

The point about an offensive tackle or a cornerback not being a real option is definitely valid, and the Donald pick is certainly an interesting one. On the one hand, there are bigger short-term needs for sure, and Donald might not even be a starter as a rookie if he ends up in Detroit. Then again, the only defensive tackles under contract beyond 2014 for the Lions are Jimmy Saddler-McQueen and Xavier Proctor, and they likely won't even make the 53-man roster this year.

Depending on what happens with Suh and Fairley, defensive tackle could be a big need for the Lions in 2015. Donald may not be a starter from Day 1, but he could potentially make Fairley expendable over the course of his rookie season. What's more, in theory, Donald could lessen the pressure to re-sign Suh if he performs well as a rookie. Granted, Suh's long-term deal may be done before Donald ever steps foot on an NFL field, but if not, a solid first season out of Donald could lessen the pressure to extend Suh in this particular scenario.

At the very least, the idea of the Lions taking Donald is worth thinking about. If they don't trade up for an "elite" player like Sammy Watkins, Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack, Donald could end up being the top player on their board at No. 10. Defensive tackle isn't as big of a need right now as wide receiver, outside linebacker or safety, but taking Donald could help prevent it from becoming a need in 2015, when basically the entire position is set to hit free agency.

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