With the 23rd pick in Pride Of Detroit's 2015 NFL mock draft, the Detroit Lions select Pittsburgh offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings. Jeremy Reisman is serving as the Lions' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.
When I first saw how the board fell to the Lions, I was extremely overwhelmed. So many prospects who have already been mocked to the Lions were still available. Only three offensive tackles have been taken off the board (not including Brandon Scherff) and only three cornerbacks, as well. I could have gone the Sean Yuille route and taken a very fine tackle in D.J. Humphries, or I could have gone the way of Alex Reno and shored up the middle of the Lions' offensive line with Cameron Erving. Oh, and to top off this burden of infinite options was a little cherry known as Todd Gurley.
Let's start with Gurley. At this point, I think he is the best player on the board, and he even fits a relative need for the Lions. But let me borrow a phrase from the dating world: "the timing just isn't right." Drafting Gurley here would put off the Lions' serious offensive line issues for another round, leaving them with, essentially, just two more picks to fix this mess. Taking a running back here would be putting the cart before the horse and would risk Gurley's development behind a poor offensive line. Gurley's injury just adds another question that the Lions should just completely avoid.
That being said, this would be an absolute ideal situation for the Lions to trade down. There would, without a doubt, be general managers lighting up the Lions' phone for a chance at Gurley this far down in the draft (Cowboys, I'm looking at you). And with so many good options for the Lions still on the table, they could still get a guy they want and pick up a mid-round draft pick to fill their current void between the third and fifth rounds.
Cornerback is another strong option here, as Marcus Peters is still surprisingly on the board, as are Kevin Johnson and -- my personal favorite -- Byron Jones. All of those players would be fine picks at this point.
But ultimately, the offensive line proved to be the best fit with need and the talent on the board. I chose T.J. Clemmings over D.J. Humphries and Cedric Ogbuehi not because of the player Clemmings is but because of the player he will be.
Clemmings is relatively new to the tackle position, but he has all of the right things to be a staple at tackle for years to come. Because of that, he has recently been shooting up mock draft boards, going 17th overall in the SB Nation mock draft, and our own Alex Reno even has him as the highest-rated tackle in this year's draft.
While Clemmings may be a bit of a project to start, he could actually fill in at the guard position immediately if the Lions are unable to fill their left guard spot during the rest of the offseason.
Clemmings' versatility, potential and pure athleticism makes him a great addition to the Lions who could provide some immediate value and long-term stability.
Check out the 2015 POD Community Mock Draft tracker for a look at all of the picks.