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2018 NFL mock draft roundup: Pass rushers are clear favorites for Lions

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We’re well over 100 mock drafts for 2018 and the season is still very long.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State v Clemson Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Our first mock draft roundup saw 24 players mocked to the Detroit Lions in 50 different mock drafts. We sailed past 100 mock drafts on September 1 and are nearing 150 already. It’s still extremely early both in the NFL season and college football, but mock drafts are in full swing and they will only arrive faster and more frequently from here on in.

We’re not going to do a mock draft of our own just yet (mercifully), but we’re going to update where the mocks stand and give you an idea of the new players that have seen their names attached to the Lions to give you some familiarity. We’re not going to rehash the 24 players listed before, you can check them here, though we’ll go over 13 more. New this year, you can follow along our mock draft tracker at any point in the season by keeping an eye on our mock draft database here.

The numbers by position

At the time of this writing, we’ve seen 140 mock drafts, of which 81 have been defensive lineman. Other mocks include 14 other defensive picks, creating a total of 95 defensive players to only 45 offensive players, almost all of which are skill positions of running back and wide receiver.

2018 Mock Drafts by Position

Positions Total Different Players
Positions Total Different Players
DE 57 11
DT 24 5
RB 24 4
WR 18 6
CB 7 2
LB 4 3
FS 2 2
OT 2 2
SS 1 1
OG 1 1
TE 0 0
QB 0 0
OC 0 0
OL 0 0
140

The numbers by players

While defensive line has by far been the biggest emphasis for the Lions in mock drafts, it is not a defensive lineman who has seen his name linked to the team most often. Running back Derrius Guice (LSU) has been mocked 16 times, the most among all mocks. It’s pretty close, though, between Guice and defensive linemen Bradley Chubb (NC State) and Christian Wilkins (Clemson). Harold Landry (Boston College) is the only other player with double digit mocks so far and Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) rounds out the top five.

Mock drafts by player

Player Name Position Mocks
Player Name Position Mocks
Derrius Guice RB 16
Bradley Chubb DE 15
Christian Wilkins DT 15
Harold Landry DE 10
Christian Kirk WR 9
Arden Key DE 8
Minkah Fitzpatrick CB 6
Tyquan Lewis DE 6
Saquan Barkley RB 5
Andrew Brown DE 5
Sam Hubbard DE 5
Courtland Sutton WR 3
Derrick Nnadi DT 3
Vita Vea DT 3
James Washington WR 3
Bo Scarbrough RB 2
Marcell Frazier DE 2
Da'Shawn Hand DT 2
Malik Jefferson LB 2
Clelin Ferrell DE 2
Dorance Armstrong DE 2
Royce Freeman RB 1
Martinas Rankin OT 1
Quenton Nelson OG 1
Antonio Callaway WR 1
Ronnie Harrison SS 1
Josh Sweat DE 1
Jordan Whitehead FS 1
Cameron Smith LB 1
Peter Kalambaya DE 1
Jerome Baker LB 1
Equanimeous St. Brown WR 1
Derwin James FS 1
Tavares McFadden CB 1
Calvin Ridley WR 1
Maurice Hurst DT 1
Orlando Brown OT 1

The New Players

Note: As always with highlight videos, foul language warning.

Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State

Though he was not mocked prior to our last write up, Lewis has been given to the Lions in 6 mocks since that time. At 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds, Lewis is only slightly below Teryl Austin’s normal size standard for defensive ends, but the disruptive pass rusher has been consistently productive for the Buckeyes. With 8.0 sacks in both 2015 and 2016, Lewis is a known force in the Big 10. He underwent shoulder surgery in 2016, so there’s some risk, but he’s a strong option if Anthony Zettel doesn’t pan out or Ziggy Ansah isn’t extended.

Andrew Brown, DE, Virginia

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, Brown falls right in that range that Teryl Austin prefers for his linemen. It’s a bit surprising to not only see Brown listed in the first round, but to see him mocked more than once there. In fact, he’s been mocked to the Lions five times. Brown has not impressed as an elite athlete and developmental prospect, and he has not shown the kind of production that normally warrants first-round picks.

Da’Shawn Hand, DT, Alabama

The last Alabama defensive tackle the Lions selected appears to be working out, so why not go back to the well? Hand is a tweener prospect who fits the typical Alabama “maxed out physically” tag. There are some character concerns as Hand was arrested for DUI this offseason.

Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas

One of the most highly-touted linebacker prospects in the upcoming draft, Jefferson has been plenty productive over his career. He hasn’t looked quite as good to start this season, but we’ll see how 2017 plays out before we address his draft stock further. Drafting a linebacker in the first would mean the Lions are moving on from Tahir Whitehead and don’t believe Jalen Reeves-Maybin is fit for anything other than a few SAM snaps per game.

Dorance Armstrong, DE, Kansas

Armstrong was very productive in 2016 and there are high hopes he continues this year. If Teryl Austin is still defensive coordinator for the Lions in 2018, it’s unlikely he would consider the 245-pound pass rusher for his defense due to his normally very strict size and athleticism thresholds, but this is a player to watch at the combine if he measures in that elite range.

Peter Kalambayi, DE, Stanford

A pass rushing linebacker in Stanford’s 3-4, Kalambayi doesn’t hit the thresholds for pass rushers in this defense. I’m not sure he’ll hit the athletic thresholds either, and I’m a bit surprised to see him mocked in the first four rounds. This early in the year you get a lot of guys like this, people throwing darts at players who look good a game or two in with the hopes that it carries over the course of the season. Kalambayi got less and less productive from 2014 to 2016.

Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State

Another linebacker, Baker falls into the category of undersized LB/oversized SS that the league has fallen in love with over the past few years. Baker appears to be a very good athlete and if Teryl Austin is replaced by someone with a different scheme who wants to move Miles Killebrew to a permanent safety role, this wouldn’t be a bad option.

Equanimeous St. Brown, WR, Notre Dame

Future name bracket superstar Equanimeous St. Brown is a tall, rangy prospect with a wide catch radius and solid hands. The junior wideout caught 58 passes for 961 yards and nine TDs in 2016 and is poised to see a similar volume of production in 2017. With his size and speed, he’d be an intriguing target if the Lions are ready to move on from one of Golden Tate or Marvin Jones in 2018.

Derwin James, FS, Florida State

James burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2015 and was nearly immediately considered a future first rounder. Size and athleticism to rival recent Seminole early pick Jalen Ramsey, James suffered a knee injury that prematurely ended his 2016 season. He’s already looked back to form, however, and is one to watch this season. James’ fit in Detroit with Glover Quin returning and Wilson/Killebrew playing well is suspect, however, and would imply a long-term replacement plan for Quin.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Ridley has average size but displays well above average athleticism. The Alabama prospect has been fairly productive, considering Alabama’s rush first offense, having hauled in 173 passes for 1,941 yards and 15 TDs to date in his Alabama career (2015-2016 and two games of 2017). Ridley has drawn somewhat unfair comparisons to former Alabama WR Amari Cooper, but he’s a fine player in his own right.

Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

Michigan’s defensive line has been the glue holding the team’s playoff hopes together so far. Led by Rashan Gary and anchored by Maurice Hurst, it is easily the Wolverines’ deepest and most talented position group. Hurst is a large reason why, and the penetrating interior lineman has been a punishing defender for Michigan. He’s a bit undersized, but the NFL has been trending that way for pass rushing interior linemen for some time and that shouldn’t hold him back.

Orlando Brown, OT, Arkansas

Orlando Brown is a typical, massive, heavy-footed offensive tackle for Arkansas. The Detroit Lions do not need an offensive tackle, having drafted the excellent Taylor Decker in 2016 and signed Rick Wagner this offseason. This is an example of how tough it can be to do mock drafts at times, since you’re expected to have a some kind of idea what all 32 teams need and where their roster stands not only for this year but in future years. It’s hard to do, but we can probably write mocks like these off.