ESPN's Mel Kiper released a three-round 2014 NFL mock draft on Thursday. In it, he made the picks based simply on getting the top value for each team, and he made it clear at the very beginning that this isn't an actual projection. Rather, it's his view of how he currently values each player.
For the Detroit Lions, this mock draft unsurprisingly began with Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert in the first round. With top options like Sammy Watkins and Khalil Mack long gone, Kiper decided that it was best for the Lions to address the cornerback position at No. 10.
I would've preferred Anthony Barr for the Lions in the first round, but Kiper has them going with BYU outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy in the second round. I actually do like this pick quite a bit. If the Lions don't land Mack or Barr in the first round, addressing their need for a pass-rushing outside linebacker by taking Van Noy is a solid option. At BYU, he had 26.0 sacks in four years, including 13.0 in his junior season alone.
Kiper continued his defensive theme for the Lions in the third round... by giving them another cornerback -- Rice's Phillip Gaines. It's bad enough that Kiper gave the Lions a cornerback in the first round, but two in the first three rounds? I know this isn't necessarily meant to be a projection, but just no. The Lions have already taken four cornerbacks in the last two drafts, and the last thing they need is two more young guys at this position, especially that early in the draft.
Instead of overloading the cornerback position with even more inexperience, the Lions would be better off letting Darius Slay, Chris Greenwood, Bill Bentley and Jonte Green sink or swim this year. That's not to say that the Lions shouldn't try to get better at cornerback, but they have already devoted a lot of draft resources to this position, and now it's time to give these guys a shot and see what they've got. Using two more early picks on cornerbacks is simply not wise, especially when the Lions could get better value at positions like wide receiver, center and safety.