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2018 NFL mock draft: Lions finally get their running back

It’s insanely early, but let’s look at who draftniks are slotting to the Detroit Lions next year.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Oregon State Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

The corpse of the 2017 NFL Draft is not even cold yet, but that doesn’t stop draftniks from putting it behind them and moving on to next year. Every Monday after the draft, a handful of those passionate about the draft love to prematurely look forward to next year. I would never do something so insane. Luckily, there seems to be no shortage of crazy people out there, and even crazier people who are interested in these sorts of ridiculous prognostications.

So now that the Detroit Lions2017 draft class is complete, let’s see who people are already picking for Detroit next year.

SB Nation (Dan Kadar)

Pick 10*: DE/LB Arden Key (LSU)

Detroit didn’t address pass rusher early in the 2017 draft and could next year with the speedy Key.

*draft order was based on 2017 Super Bowl odds

Fox Sports (Dieter Kurtenbach)

Pick 11: DE Sam Hubbard (Ohio State)

Detroit bolsters an improving, but still poor, defense with Hubbard, who returned to Ohio State and had a tremendous season in 2017.

Pick 43: LB Micah Kiser (Viginia)

The Big Lead (Jason McIntyre)

Pick 11: RB Royce Freeman (Oregon)

Injuries hurt Freeman last year, or he would have been in the 2017 draft. He’ll pass LaMichael James as the school’s leading rusher this year. Detroit managed to somehow not draft a RB, so they go into the season with Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner.

Bleacher Report (Matt Miller)

Pick 9*: DE/LB Arden Key (LSU)

The Lions addressed the defense with two selections at linebacker and one cornerback early in the draft, but still have a need for a pass-rusher opposite Ezekiel Ansah. If Arden Key is dialed in for 2017, he has a chance to shoot way up draft boards.

*draft order was based on 2017 Super Bowl odds

Sporting News (Eric Galko)

Pick 9*: RB Derrius Guice (LSU)

2018 could be a second straight year with two running backs in the top-10, as Leonard Fournette’s replacement at LSU is tremendously talented, as well. The Lions need more offensive talent.

*draft order was based on 2017 Super Bowl odds


Most experts have the Lions taking what the two consensus biggest needs that were avoided in the 2017 draft: an edge rusher and a running back.

It’s interesting that both Miller and Kadar slotted defensive end Arden Key to the Lions in the top 10 of the draft. Last year Key had a breakout season. In 11 games, Key managed 55 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 12.0 sacks and two forced fumbles. In his rookie year before that, he earned Freshman All-America honors and made the SEC All-Freshman team. Key is currently on a “leave of absence” from LSU for some unknown reason, but he has promised he will not be sitting out his junior year.

If you’re wondering just how accurate these drafts tend to be, here’s what they were saying about the Lions’ 2017 draft back in 2016. There are a few interesting things to point out. First, just like this year, everyone had the Lions picking in the top 10. Of course, Detroit would go on to make the playoffs and pick 21st overall instead. Secondly, SI’s Chris Burke actually got his pick right... kind of. He had the Lions taking Teez Tabor... at eighth overall in the first round. The Lions nabbed him in the second round, instead.

Also, you may notice that (again, like this year) a majority experts predicted the Lions grabbing a running back in the first round. That was highly discussed among experts this year, but Detroit opted not to select a single running back all draft.

In the end, none of this means anything, but it’ll be a fun thing to look back upon next year.

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