If there’s any sort of tiny silver lining to the Detroit Lions’ embarrassing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, it’s that their draft position slightly improved with a chance of it improving even more this week.
The Lions dropped to 8-7 on the year, and because of that, they jumped the Seattle Seahawks in the draft order to go from 19th to 18th, according to Tankathon.com. Detroit has the same overall record as three different teams, but their strength of schedule was the second-hardest among 8-7 teams.
Not only did the Lions’ loss bump them up a spot in the draft order, but now they’re in striking distance of three 7-8 teams. The Packers, Cardinals and Washington all have 7-8 records and strength of schedules that are very close to Detroit. Obviously, strength of schedule will change a lot depending on who wins and who loses in the final week of the season, but theoretically speaking, the Lions could be picking as high as 13th but no lower than 20th.
For reference, here are the last five players picked at 18th overall:
2017: CB Adoree’ Jackson
2016: C Ryan Kelly
2015: CB Marcus Peters
2014: S Calvin Pryor
2013: S Eric Reid
Oddly, four of the past five picks at 18th overall have been defensive backs, but two of those—Peters and Reid—have already reached the Pro Bowl in their young careers.
A defensive back isn’t high on the Lions’ draft needs, but it isn’t out of the question for their first-round pick, either. As suggested by our mock draft tracker, help along the defensive line is a much bigger need. Here are the last pass rushers taken at 18th overall:
- OLB Melvin Ingram (2012)
- DT Corey Liuget (2011)
- DE Robert Ayers (2009)
Which players are you hoping to see the Lions pick with their first-round selection?