The 2018 mock draft tracker has now compiled over 300 mock drafts from May to Christmas. While the most mocked player to the Detroit Lions remains LSU running back Derrius Guice, a majority of mock drafts are handing the Lions some sort of pass rusher. While during the preseason and coming into the season that was still considered a big need—with half of mock drafts listing a pass rusher—that has jumped to nearly two thirds of all mocks in the month of December.
Despite the obvious focus on the need for pass rushing help, we’ve actually seen a wide variety of players mocked to Detroit: On the edge, interior, offensive linemen, running backs, and even receivers. Whenever a team is struggling, people who aren’t as tuned in to the team’s needs see holes everywhere, and that’s what we’re starting to see with the Lions.
Guice had been the most mocked player in the preseason, as well as the months of September and November. He was the second-most mocked player in October and December, so he’s still a favorite. While Guice is a fine player, the chances of drafting a running back in the first round is next to nothing with Jim Caldwell at the helm and Bob Quinn at GM, who comes from a system that has never valued running back highly. Until Caldwell is removed, I simply won’t be onboard with the choice to pick a back in the first round even if it’s as big of a need as it clearly is, simply because I don’t think it’s likely. A pass rusher, or similar trench player, is far more likely and arguably a far bigger need.
As you can see, 184 of the 300 mocks were pass rushers with 16 different players being mocked to the Lions since the last time they were on the clock. Fans, experts, and everywhere in-between obviously notice that the Lions cannot put pressure on opposing quarterbacks and need some help.
While there have been six different rushers mocked to the Lions, almost all of the running back mocks (36) have been Guice with only a handful among the other backs. People know the need is there, but the talent in the first round isn’t. I’m a bit surprised there have been so few interior offensive linemen mocked to the Lions with only Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson and Billy Price of Ohio State being mocked to the team.
Detroit Lions Mock Draft Roundup
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RB Derrius Guice
Guice is considered by most to be the second best running back in this draft class and one of only two who are consistently mocked in the first round.
POD Draft Profile
DT Christian Wilkins
One of the most talented interior pass rushers of the 2018 class, Christian Wilkins can rush from any angle and any position on the defensive line.
POD Draft Profile
DE Arden Key
There are both character and injury concerns that will need to be addressed at the combine, but Arden Key is considered a highly athletic pure edge prospect.
POD Draft Profile
DE Clelin Ferrell
Ferrell has been the most mocked player to the Detroit Lions in the month of December. The talented Clemson pass rusher hasn’t yet made a draft decision, but he also doesn’t turn 21 until May.
DE Harold Landry
A preseason favorite of mock drafters in the top five, Landry has seen others jump ahead of him after a less impressive 2017. Still a strong pass rusher, some think he might be more suited to a 3-4.
DE Bradley Chubb
Now considered the top pass rusher in the 2018 draft class, it’s possible the Lions have won too many games to even have a shot at the disruptive Bradley Chubb.
POD Draft Profile
DE Austin Bryant
Another Clemson pass rusher that often sees his name attached to the Lions, Bryant hasn’t been quite as productive as his younger teammate, but has been a strong bookend for the Tigers.
WR Christian Kirk
Most-mocked receiver in the preseason when the perception of the Lions receiver corps wasn’t as high, Christian Kirk is as close to a college version of Golden Tate as you can find. A slot match-up nightmare.
DT Maurice Hurst
The Michigan defensive front is monstrous and Hurst is a big part of that. His size may make teams take pause, but his athletic ability and pass rushing technical ability on tape are both apparent.
POD Draft Profile
DE Sam Hubbard
Every year we end up with an Ohio State pass rusher mocked in the first round and the Buckeye’s Sam Hubbard has improved in each season.
DE Dorance Armstrong
Armstrong isn’t the best fit for the Lions and you don’t see him in the first round as often as we did months ago.
DB Minkah Fitzpatrick
When the Lions were mocked a lot higher in the first round, and when Quandre Diggs was still playing nickelback and not safety, people felt the Alabama DB was a good fit.
WR Calvin Ridley
Alabama receivers aren’t always the most productive due to the system they run, but Calvin Ridley is super talented. However, he is not likely to be a first-round target for the Lions.
DT Da’Ron Payne
Considered more of a second fiddle to the other Alabama interior DL, Da’Shawn Hand, to start the season, Payne has not only eclipsed his teammate in mock drafters’ eyes but some even consider him the best in this class.
DT Vita Vea
A personal favorite of mine, Vita Vea was clocked at around 4.8 while weighing in at over 330 pounds (he’s generally listed around 345). Don’t mistake him for being just a nose tackle due to his size, Vea looks to be a superb athlete and potential wrecking ball over center.
SS Derwin James
Another safety that was mocked a bit when Tavon Wilson went down, James is odd in that he’s fallen out of favor with some while still remaining in the top ten for others.
RB Bryce Love
A superbly talented athlete at Stanford, Love is a single defensive mistake away from a touchdown every time he touches the football.
DE Tyquan Lewis
Lewis was far more productive as a sophomore than he has been in his junior and senior seasons, but the talent is clearly there.
LB Roquan Smith
A relative unknown to begin the college football season, Roquan Smith is a near-universal first-round pick on mocks now and is considered by many to be the top linebacker in this class.
RB Saquon Barkley
He’s likely played his way well out of the Lions’ range, but who knows? Teams have made weird mistakes before, maybe a dozen or two skip out on a super talented game-changing running back.
C Billy Price
We talked about Price a bit before, but he’s seen his stock rising slowly since that time and is generally considered a late first round, early second round pick.
WR James Washington
Washington is a very talented receiver that has fallen out of favor with some, but more relevant to the Lions is that Marvin Jones hit 1,000 yards and Golden Tate eclipsed 80 receptions for the fourth year in a row.
DE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
A talented pass rusher and even more talented run defender, Okoronkwo is well below the Lions’ general standard for pass rusher size (he’s only 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds), but he tallied 29.0 tackles for a loss over the past two seasons.
DE Andrew Brown
A tweener pass rusher, Brown has a lot of draft folks split whether he’d be a first rounder or somewhere in the middle rounds.
DT Derrick Nnadi
Nnadi is another player I’ve seen folks split on with some looking at his beastly production (19.5 TFL and 9.5 sacks at DT in the past two seasons) and others who believe he disappears for long stretches.
DT Dre’Mont Jones
While Jones is a talented player, teams will likely pause at his pedestrian production (only 1.0 career sack).
T Mitch Hyatt
The Clemson tackle probably won’t get a look from the Lions in the first round, having locked up Taylor Decker in the 2016 draft and signed Rick Wagner long-term in 2017.
RB Nick Chubb
Chubb returned from a devastating leg injury to put his name in early round consideration rushing for the Georgia Bulldogs.
G Quenton Nelson
Almost unanimously considered the top offensive linemen in this draft, if the Notre Dame guard falls to the Lions when they pick they should sprint to the podium.
FS Ronnie Harrison
A skilled safety with prototypical size, Harrison took the trying position of safety in Alabama’s defense and has been productive in it.
TE Mark Andrews
I’m sure Lions fans would LOVE to see the team pick a tight end with some drop concerns in the first round, no?
DE Marquis Haynes
Tiny by pass rusher standards, Haynes has been extremely productive for Ole Miss, having tackled players behind the line of scrimmage 47.5 times over four seasons.
Running backs who’ve seen their draft stock spike sometimes get mocked to the Lions as well as occasional offensive tackles by mock drafters who don’t follow the Lions closely enough to know that position is locked up. Sporadically, we’ve seen pass rushers jump up and get mocked once to the Lions and then never again, but by and large the one offs we see to the Lions are positions that aren’t largely considered a need like receiver or cornerback.
Who do you think the Lions will pick in the 2018 NFL Draft?
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