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2017 NFL Draft: Best players available for the Lions on Day 2

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With Day 1 in the books, let’s transition to Day 2 and look at the top players available for the Detroit Lions.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Colorado vs Washington Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It’s safe to say that Day 1 of this year’s draft was one of the most unpredictable draft days in recent history. After an early run on offensive skill players, there were a few names that Detroit Lions fans did not expect to fall as far as they did. Personally, I was stunned to see Malik Hooker fall as far as he did, and then you have Reuben Foster, who was selected nearly 20 picks later than most expected.

With the Lions taking their top linebacker at 21st overall, they’re likely going to focus on edge rusher or defensive back, but don’t be surprised if they go offensive skill position with at least one of their picks. Let’s take a look at some of the top players available at the remaining positions of need for the Lions.

Edge rusher

1. Derek Rivers (Youngstown State)
2. Carl Lawson (Auburn)
3. Jordan Willis (Kansas State)
4. Joe Mathis (Washington)
5. Tim Williams (Alabama)
6. Tarrell Basham (Ohio)
7. Daeshon Hall (Texas A&M)

Analysis:

Full disclaimer, these rankings are my own. I like Derek Rivers a lot, and would be ecstatic if the Lions were to take him in the second round. His bend is at the top of the class, and his discipline as a run defender is impressive. Carl Lawson would be another great selection as he fits the glove for what the Detroit Lions want in a defensive end opposite of Ezekiel Ansah. He has violent hands and is arguably the most technical defensive line prospect in the draft.

Defensive Tackle

1. Malik McDowell (Michigan State)
2. Caleb Brantley (Florida)
3. Dalvin Tomlinson (Alabama)
4. Chris Wormley (Michigan)
5. Jaleel Johnson (Iowa)
6. Montravius Adams (Auburn)
7. Carlos Watkins (Clemson)
8. Larry Ogunjobi (Charlotte)

Analysis:

There is no doubt that Malik McDowell is talented, but the character concerns are what have made him fall this far, and I’m not so sure he’s even worth a second-round pick. You can pretty much cross Brantley off the list after his recent misdemeanor battery arrest. Wormley is a great fit for the Lions with a high floor, but low upside. He’s what I would consider to be a safe Day 2 pick for the Lions in the third round if he’s still there. If the Lions are looking for a 3-tech DT, then Montravius Adams or Larry Ogunjobi is the way to go.

Cornerback

1. Sidney Jones (Washington)
2. Quincy Wilson (Florida)
3. Fabian Moreau (UCLA)
4. Ahkello Witherspoon (Colorado)
5. Teez Tabor (Florida)
6. Howard Wilson (Houston)
7. Kevin King (Washington)
8. Jeremy Cutrer (MTSU)
9. Cordrea Tankersley (Clemson)
10. Chidobe Awuzie (Colorado)

Analysis:

I know, I have King a lot lower than most of y’all expected, but honestly, any of these guys, including a few more, would be fantastic additions on Day 2. The list of cornerbacks is that deep. I don’t expect Sidney Jones to leave the second round, so the Lions would have to take him at 53rd overall. I feel confident that the Lions will select at least one defensive back on the second day given how deep it is.

Safety

1. Obi Melifonwu (Connecticut)
2. Marcus Williams (Utah)
3. Josh Jones (NC State)
4. Tedric Thompson (Colorado)
5. John Johnson (Boston College)
6. Desmond King (Iowa)
7. Budda Baker (Washington)

Analysis:

Once again, give me any of these safeties to the Lions. I’m of the mindset that the Lions should be looking for a deep safety to possibly replace Glover Quin in 2018. The top pure center field safeties in this draft available to me are Williams, Thompson and Baker. Melifonwu would likely be more of a box safety for the Lions, but has the ability to cover tight ends in the slot and displays some nice ball skills in coverage.

Running back

1. Dalvin Cook (Florida State)
2. Kareem Hunt (Toledo)
3. Joe Mixon (Oklahoma)
4. Alvin Kamara (Tennessee)
5. Wayne Gallman (Clemson)
6. T.J. Logan (North Carolina)
7. Jamaal Williams (BYU)
8. Samaje Perine (Oklahoma)

Analysis:

The Lions will probably take a running back at some point and if they want a power back, then their options are loaded in the early-to-mid rounds. However, don’t sleep on T.J. Logan, who is a blazing fast change-of-pace back and has the ability to return kicks and punts. The Lions really don’t have any speed at running back so it wouldn’t surprise me if they wanted to add speed over power here.

Tight ends

1. Adam Shaheen (Ashland)
2. George Kittle (Iowa)
3. Jeremy Sprinkle (Arkansas)
4. Michael Roberts (Toledo)

Analysis:

All four of these guys are better blockers than what the Lions currently have right now. Shaheen has the most upside on this list and if he loses another 20 pounds he could turn into a big mismatch problem for opposing teams. I love Kittle’s ability to block, and he’s a sneaky good athlete. Don’t sleep on Roberts in the third round. He has the largest hands of any tight end ever and is a big time red zone threat.

Wide receivers

1. JuJu Smith-Schuster (USC)
2. Carlos Henderson (LA Tech)
3. Curtis Samuel (Ohio State)
4. Isaiah Ford (Virginia Tech)
5. Chris Godwin (Penn State)

Analysis:

If the Lions decide to take anyone from this list, give me Henderson, Ford and Godwin in that order. Henderson is the most elusive receiver in this draft and forced more missed tackles than any other receiver by more than twofold. Ford is a great deep threat, but also has elite foot speed to create quick separation off the line of scrimmage. Godwin is an elite athlete with a large frame to pose a nice threat in the red zone.