The Detroit Lions are on the clock in the second round of the Pride Of Detroit Community Mock Draft. Alex Reno is ready to make his pick.
In the first round, Reno selected cornerback Gareon Conley for the Lions. With his second round pick, he has stuck with defense. With the 53rd overall pick, the Lions have selected defensive end Derek Rivers out of Youngstown State. Here is Reno’s explanation for the pick:
After going cornerback in the first round, my focus was set primarily on addressing either the linebacker position or adding a pass rusher in the trenches. The board hasn’t done us any favors so far, and once again we were left with essentially zero linebackers to choose from that offered enough value for this pick. Both Tyus Bowser and Raekwon McMillan were selected before our pick, so that crosses them off the list. Florida’s Alex Anzalone and LSU’s Duke Riley were the top two linebackers available, but are both expected to go in the third round or later. I could have gone with a safety here too, since I consider it to be a big need moving forward with Miles Killebrew being the only safety under contract in 2018. Utah’s Marcus Williams is a guy I really like and think he can be a nice center fielder for someone, but he was also picked just a few picks before our selection.
This left me to choose between several prospects. Two of the top pass rushers, Carl Lawson and Derek Rivers, were left for us and I have them both in the top-35 on my big board. NC State safety Josh Jones (No. 45 on my board) is a versatile safety that can play deep or in the box and has the ability to match up against tight ends in the slot, so he was up for consideration. Lastly, I had to consider Louisiana Tech WR Carlos Henderson, who also fits a need—albeit not as pressing as the ones on defense. According to Pro Football Focus, Henderson forced 48 missed tackles last year, and the next closest receiver had 26.
All of these players would make for great additions, but in the end, I decided to address the trenches and select a pass rusher with Youngstown State’s Derek Rivers. I’m a big fan of Rivers, who is a supreme athlete and is very flexible around the edge for a pass rusher. His elite first step is a handful for offensive tackles who are constantly trying to recover and catch up to him. Rivers is a tad undersized and could get engulfed by larger tackles, but he still has some room to add weight to his frame. As a run defender, Rivers is very disciplined and has no problem two-gapping or holding contain. Via PFF, Rivers had the third-highest run stop percentage of any edge defender last year. With the addition of Rivers, the Lions get their starting defensive end opposite of Ziggy Ansah and now turn their focus to bolstering their linebacker corps and addressing other needs for the remainder of the draft.
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