With the 36th pick in Pride Of Detroit's 2013 NFL mock draft, the Detroit Lions select Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine. Jeremy Reisman is serving as the Lions' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
I have to admit, when I passed on a defensive end in the first round, this was my dream scenario.
Of all the defensive ends in this year's draft class, Cornelius "Tank" Carradine had the best film reel of 2012. He displayed all the necessary qualities (speed, strength, desire, recognition and football smarts) to be the best defensive end in this draft. He could easily solidify the Lions' right defensive end position for years to come ... if he can recover fully from his injury.
Carradine tore his ACL in November, and this cannot be overlooked. However, Adrian Peterson proved last year that an ACL tear is not an NFL death sentence. And with the high praise of Carradine's work ethic combined with his youthful body, there is no reason not to believe Tank could see the field early in the 2013 season. In fact, he already participated in Florida State's pro day, and he plans to have another in a week.
Carradine's dedication is just one more reason the Lions cannot pass on him in the second round. His personality will be greatly valued in the locker room and his never-give-up attitude on the field will be a great replacement for his predecessor, Kyle Vanden Bosch.
I briefly considered a few other options for the Lions. Damontre Moore, whose stock has been falling since January, is still on the board. Offensive line options like OG Larry Warford and OT Menelik Watson are pretty good value here, but overall, the draft didn't fall kindly for the Lions to take an offensive lineman.
Wide receiver is another option I considered. Robert Woods would be a great fit, and this would be decent value early in the second round. His breakaway speed would complement Calvin Johnson perfectly.
But in the end, none of these options came close to the upside of Carradine, who may very well be the best defensive player in the draft, when healthy. Not to mention defensive end is clearly the Lions' biggest need. I'd be surprised to see Carradine fall this far (unless teams know something about his injury that I don't), but if the Lions find him in their lap in round two, it's an easy pick.
Check out the 2013 Pride Of Detroit Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.