The Detroit Lions really have four notable needs that jump out when you look at their roster: defensive tackle, offensive line, cornerback and running back. There are other needs, of course, but those four stand out as the most pressing heading into the 2015 NFL Draft.
The problem for the Lions is that they only have three picks in the first five rounds of the draft. The Haloti Ngata trade sent the Lions' picks in the fourth and fifth rounds to the Baltimore Ravens, leaving Detroit with only three picks in the first part of the draft to fill those aforementioned needs.
With this in mind, there are several ways the Lions can approach the three picks they do have in the first five rounds of the draft. Using Fanspeak's mock draft simulator, let's take a look at five different scenarios for the Lions:
Scenario 1: Go defensive tackle in the first round
Round 1 (23): DT Malcom Brown (Texas)
Round 2 (54): CB Quinten Rollins (Miami OH)
Round 3 (88): OG Laken Tomlinson (Duke)
This sort of reminds me of the Lions' 2013 draft, when they went with DE Ziggy Ansah, CB Darius Slay and OG Larry Warford in the first three rounds. In this scenario, the Lions would fill their need at defensive tackle, build for the future at cornerback and add someone who could potentially start at left guard.
Scenario 2: Solidify the offensive and defensive lines
Round 1 (23): OT La'el Collins (LSU)
Round 2 (54): DT Carl Davis (Iowa)
Round 3 (88): CB Byron Jones (Connecticut)
Alternatively, the Lions could wait to address their need at defensive tackle until the second round, and they could instead use their first-round pick on an offensive lineman like Collins. He would give them some flexibility with their offensive line and an upgrade in the talent department, and they could still hit on their need at cornerback in Round 3.
Scenario 3: Bolster the secondary
Round 1 (23): CB Jalen Collins (LSU)
Round 2 (54): DT Jordan Phillips (Oklahoma)
Round 3 (88): OG Ali Marpet (Hobart and William Smith)
Or the Lions could just get their cornerback of the future with the 23rd overall pick. Once again, they would have the option of taking a defensive tackle in the second round, and this time around they would wait until the third round to bolster their depth on the O-line.
Scenario 4: Strengthen the running game
Round 1 (23): RB Todd Gurley (Georgia)
Round 2 (54): OT D.J. Humphries (Florida)
Round 3 (88): DT Xavier Cooper (Washington State)
Would anybody really be surprised if Martin Mayhew put the Lions' most pressing needs on the backburner and took a running back coming off a torn ACL in the first round? I certainly wouldn't be shocked if a scenario like this plays out, because Gurley is quite talented. Adding him would greatly improve the running game, especially if the Lions then add a player like Humphries in the second round. Then they could come back in the third round to fill that need at defensive tackle.
Scenario 5: Trade down
Round 2 (35): OT Andrus Peat (Stanford)
Round 2 (54): DT Michael Bennett (Ohio State)
Round 3 (68): CB Ronald Darby (Florida State)
Round 3 (88): RB Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska)
The final scenario involves a trade that moves the Lions out of the first round in order to pick up an extra third-round selection. This would give them an opportunity to hit on all four of their major needs in the first three rounds.
Which of these scenarios is most appealing to you? Vote in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments.