The Detroit Lions need a lot of help on defense this offseason, and chances are good they’ll seek help along the defensive line either in free agency, the draft or both. Mock drafters seem to know this, as nine of the 11 most mocked players to Detroit play along the defensive front.
But ESPN’s Todd McShay went a different route in his Mock Draft 2.0 (subscription required). McShay decided to go with Georgia’s offensive guard Isaiah Wynn instead. Wynn actually played left tackle in college, but almost all experts are projecting him to be an guard in the pros. “Wynn developed into a dominant OT at Georgia and had a brilliant week of practice at the Senior Bowl when they moved him to guard,” McShay wrote.
. @FootballUGA offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn putting in some work in pass pro drills yesterday. Wynn allowed just five total pressures on 346 pass blocking snaps in 2017. pic.twitter.com/XtTek89uHA— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 25, 2018
Some may criticize McShay for passing on defensive help, but several of the most popular picks for Detroit were already off the board. Dominant defensive tackles Vita Vea and Maurice Hurst were both unavailable, going 16th and 19th overall respectively.
In fact, McShay concedes that a defensive pick would have fit Detroit’s needs better, but he just didn’t see a player worthy here. “An edge rusher would be ideal with Ezekiel Ansah a pending free agent,” McShay admits. “But I don’t see a great value here.”
Our own Alex Reno wrote about Wynn during the week of the Senior Bowl, pointing him out as one of the prospects the Lions should watch.
“The Georgia O-line dominated FBS competition last year and Wynn was a big part of the reason why. He received rave reviews all week for his athleticism and power and was named the Top Offensive Lineman of the Week by the Senior Bowl committee despite playing with a torn labrum.”
That torn labrum ended up keeping Wynn out of the actual game itself, but his week of practice was so dominant—and at a new position, no less—that his stock certainly shot up after that week.
For the Lions, Wynn makes a lot of sense. The future of free agent center Travis Swanson is up in the air, and Graham Glasgow has looked like a more-than-capable starting center for Detroit. That leaves a big hole at left guard—exactly where Wynn practiced at the Senior Bowl.
The Lions have struggled with their offensive line as of late, despite the large amount of resources spent on the position. Detroit drafted three offensive linemen in the past two years and shelled out a ton of money for two of the top free agents in 2017, but they were still one of the worst teams at pass protection and running the ball last season.
Bob Quinn has shown that he values versatility in his players, and Wynn brings exactly that. He may not be the defensive help that the team so drastically needs, but he fills a need just as crucial, and he could very well be the pick come April.
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