With the 54th pick of Pride of Detroit's 2012 NFL mock draft, the Detroit Lions select Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones. Jerry Mallory is serving as the Lions' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
This was a no-brainer, easy, run-to-send-your-pick-in type of selection. (Stepping out of character for a second, there is no way Jones will be available this late, as some have him projected between 15 to 20 and he's been getting "most underrated player in the draft" buzz. The Lions may very well draft him No. 1 and Janoris Jenkins in the second round, though I doubt Jenkins falls that far.)
Jones both fills a need and is by far the BPA. Whether Cliff Avril stays or goes, we will have DE turnover the next few years with Kyle Vanden Bosch aging and Lawrence Jackson and Willie Young eventually getting more playing time here or elsewhere. Jones can be groomed under the vets for a year or two while still getting consistent playing time right away before starting, similar to how the Giants have handled Jason Pierre-Paul. Like Pierre-Paul, we see Jones' talent forcing him to start sooner rather than later.
His build and athleticism reminds us of Aldon Smith. He has a family line of athletes and football players. His frame will allow him to bulk up a little more without losing agility or speed. We just landed the steal of the draft.
Check out the 2012 Pride of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.