The Detroit Lions can go in a number of different directions in the 2015 NFL Draft, especially in the early rounds. They have four main needs that jump out -- running back, offensive line, defensive tackle and cornerback -- but only three picks in the first four rounds. As a result, the Lions will have to be very wise about how they address each of those needs unless they are able to secure additional picks via a trade.
With this in mind, I took to First-Pick.com and went through eight different mock draft scenarios for the Lions. Take a look:
Scenario 1: Offensive tackle in the first
Round 1 (23): OT D.J. Humphries (Florida)
Round 2 (54): DT Michael Bennett (Ohio State)
Round 3 (88): WR Tyler Lockett (Kansas State)
Round 5 (168): RB Josh Robinson (Mississippi State)
Round 6 (200): OG Quinton Spain (West Virginia)
Round 7 (240): CB Curtis Riley (Fresno State)
This scenario focuses on improving the offensive and defensive lines early in the draft, and it also focuses on making an upgrade at receiver and returner. The result is running back and cornerback being pushed aside until Day 3, but some positions are simply going to have to wait to be addressed until later in the draft.
Scenario 2: Running back in the first
Round 1 (23): RB Todd Gurley (Georgia)
Round 2 (54): OT Donovan Smith (Penn State)
Round 3 (88): DT Gabe Wright (Auburn)
Round 5 (168): CB Damian Swann (Georgia)
Round 6 (200): WR Mario Alford (West Virginia)
Round 7 (240): OG Jarvis Harrison (Texas A&M)
I personally don't expect Todd Gurley to fall to the 23rd overall pick, but this scenario assumes he ends up in Detroit. The Lions could then shift their focus to the lines on Day 2 before hitting on some other needs on Day 3.
Scenario 3: Interior offensive lineman in the first
Round 1 (23): C Cameron Erving (Florida State)
Round 2 (54): RB Tevin Coleman (Indiana)
Round 3 (88): CB Alex Carter (Stanford)
Round 5 (168): DT Darius Philon (Arkansas)
Round 6 (200): WR Stefon Diggs (Maryland)
Round 7 (240): SS Brian Blechen (Utah)
Rather than add a true tackle, what if the Lions go with Cameron Erving? He can play tackle, but his best position is center, and he could very well end up at guard if the Lions take him. This would give them an upgrade at one of their starting spots on the O-line, and they could continue to upgrade their running game with Tevin Coleman in the second round.
Scenario 4: Cornerback in the first
Round 1 (23): CB Kevin Johnson (Wake Forest)
Round 2 (54): OG Ali Marpet (Hobart)
Round 3 (88): DT Marcus Hardison (Arizona State)
Round 5 (168): WR Titus Davis (Central Michigan)
Round 6 (200): RB Karlos Williams (Florida State)
Round 7 (240): DT Ellis McCarthy (UCLA)
Cornerback isn't a pressing need in the short term, but Kevin Johnson might be too talented to pass up. Either way, a cornerback in the first round would make things really interesting for the Lions on the final two days of the draft.
Scenario 5: Defensive tackle in the first
Round 1 (23): DT Malcom Brown (Texas)
Round 2 (54): RB Jay Ajayi (Boise State)
Round 3 (88): OT Ty Sambrailo (Colorado State)
Round 5 (168): OG Jeremiah Poutasi (Utah)
Round 6 (200): CB JaCorey Shepherd (Kansas)
Round 7 (240): WR J.J. Nelson (UAB)
When it comes to drafting a defensive tackle, I think there's better value in the second round, but I'm actually pleased with how this scenario turned out. Malcom Brown could be an immediate contributor on the D-line, and Jay Ajayi could make an immediate impact at running back. The hope would be that one of those two offensive linemen would be able to step in and start as a rookie, and there would also be an expectation for J.J. Nelson to immediately step in as the Lions' returner.
Scenario 6: Safety in the first
Round 1 (23): SS Landon Collins (Alabama)
Round 2 (54): RB Duke Johnson (Miami FL)
Round 3 (88): OT Rob Havenstein (Wisconsin)
Round 5 (168): DT Derrick Lott (Tennessee-Chattanooga)
Round 6 (200): WR Antwan Goodley (Baylor)
Round 7 (240): CB Bryce Callahan (Rice)
This is one of two "wild-card scenarios." In this particular scenario, the Lions go against their top needs and take Landon Collins. He would likely step in for James Ihedigbo at strong safety either immediately or in 2016. In any case, the Lions would have to really hit on their final five picks with them passing up a top need for a secondary one in the first round.
Scenario 7: Wide receiver in the first
Round 1 (23): WR DeVante Parker (Louisville)
Round 2 (54): OG A.J. Cann (South Carolina)
Round 3 (88): RB Jeremy Langford (Michigan State)
Round 5 (168): DT Louis Trinca-Pasat (Iowa)
Round 6 (200): CB Ladarius Gunter (Miami FL)
Round 7 (240): OT Jamon Brown (Louisville)
Along the same lines, what if the Lions really shock people by going wide receiver in the first round? Okay, I guess it wouldn't be that shocking considering DeVante Parker visited the Lions, but that would again leave Detroit in a situation where they would have to hit on all of their major needs after the first round.
Scenario 8: Trade down
Round 1 (31): OT Jake Fisher (Oregon)
Round 2 (44): DT Grady Jarrett (Clemson)
Round 3 (69): RB T.J. Yeldon (Alabama)
Round 3 (88): WR Tre McBride (William & Mary)
Round 5 (168): CB Lorenzo Doss (Tulane)
Round 6 (200): DE Zack Wagenmann (Montana)
Round 7 (240): OG Jon Feliciano (Miami FL)
The final scenario involves a trade where the Lions move down in the first round in exchange for moving up in the second round and getting an additional third-round pick. In terms of being able to hit on as many top needs as possible on the first two days of the draft, this is probably the best-case scenario. The Lions could get an immediate starter at tackle or guard in Jake Fisher and immediate contributors in Grady Jarrett, T.J. Yeldon and Tre McBride (as a returner). Plus, they could still add extra depth at multiple positions in the final three rounds. Trading down requires a team willing to move up, of course, but from a flexibility standpoint, this is as good as it gets for the Lions.