We are just days away from the 2013 NFL Draft, yet there isn't a consensus on what will happen at the top of the first round. There is no lock for the No. 1 overall pick, and there is even more uncertainty surrounding the next three picks. Will Geno Smith land in the top four? Could three tackles be off the board before the Detroit Lions even go on the clock? Will anybody trade down? These are just some of the questions surrounding this year's top four picks, showing just how up in the air everything is as the draft nears.
What this all means for the Lions is that we don't have a very good idea of which players will actually still be available when they go on the clock with the No. 5 overall pick. If the Lions were at the top of the draft, we'd pretty much know what their plans are (draft a tackle), but with all of the uncertainty ahead of them, it's really anyone's guess at this point.
In order to better understand what might happen at the top of the first round on Thursday night, I sent questions to the SB Nation bloggers for the teams in the top four. Joel Thorman from Arrowhead Pride (Kansas City Chiefs), Alfie Crow from Big Cat Country (Jacksonville Jaguars), Levi Damien from Silver And Black Pride (Oakland Raiders) and JasonB from Bleeding Green Nation (Philadelphia Eagles) provided insight into what their teams might do in the first round, in turn giving us a better idea of who the Lions might be choosing from come Thursday night. Take a look:
1. What are the main positions your team is expected to target with its first-round pick?
AP (Chiefs): Offensive tackle and defensive lineman are the top two positions. They both can be considered needs and they're both positions that you traditionally select near the top of the draft.
BCC (Jaguars): The Jaguars are most likely going to draft a pass rusher with their first pick and most believe it will either be Dion Jordan or Ezekiel Ansah. Some other positions the team could look at with the No. 2 pick are defensive tackle or quarterback.
S&BP (Raiders): Defensive Tackle is the main position. Defensive end is also an option but to a lesser extent. Cornerback is longer odds but possible. They are looking to trade down and if successful, it will mean an offensive tackle goes there.
BGN (Eagles): Most likely offensive tackle, potentially defensive line, possibly even QB.
2. From those positions, which players stand out as probable options in the first round?
AP (Chiefs): Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher, Dion Jordan, Sharrif Floyd and Star Lotulelei.
BCC (Jaguars): The likely options for the Jaguars with the No. 2 overall pick right now appear to be Dion Jordan, Ezekiel Ansah, Geno Smith, Sharrif Floyd, Eric Fisher or Star Lotulelei.
S&BP (Raiders): Star Lotulelei, Sharrif Floyd, Dion Jordan, Ezekiel Ansah, Dee Milliner, Eric Fisher.
BGN (Eagles): Any of the three top OTs, Geno Smith, Dion Jordan, Star Lotulelei.
3. Finally, how about a prediction? When draft day rolls around, who do you think your team will select with its first-round pick?
AP (Chiefs): Luke Joeckel.
BCC (Jaguars): When the Jaguars are on the clock on Thursday I expect the pick to be Oregon DE/LB Dion Jordan, but the possibility the new regime pulls the trigger on a quarterback is still looming.
S&BP (Raiders): Star Lotulelei.
BGN (Eagles): Eric Fisher.
If the top four plays out like this, the Lions will not have a chance to draft one of the top two offensive tackles. This isn't the absolute worst-case scenario, but it's close. Rather than having a no-brainer type of pick like Fisher, the Lions would have to pick from a group of players that includes Lane Johnson, Dee Milliner, Ezekiel Ansah and Chance Warmack. Trading down would probably be the best option for the Lions in this scenario, but there's no guarantee a deal will come along.
This is obviously all just speculation, and given that there is so much uncertainty, we could be in for some surprises on Thursday night. However, based on the expectations from fans of the teams in the top four, it's looking like we could see a sequence of offensive tackle, pass rusher, defensive tackle and offensive tackle before the Lions go on the clock. If that's the case, Martin Mayhew will have an extremely tough decision to make with the fifth overall pick. There's a lot riding on this pick for the current regime, so he can't afford to whiff on it. No pressure, right?