The local beat writers have submitted their picks for the Detroit Lions’ first-round draft choice, and unlike previous years, there appears to be little consensus. Last year, Jarrad Davis was clearly the most popular pick, and he ended up being the selection. The year before, Taylor Decker was the consensus choice, and—what do you know?—the Lions ended up selecting him.
But this year, nearly every Lions writer went in a different direction. Here’s a recap of the local writers and their predictions for Thursday night.
Detroit Free Press
Dave Birkett - LB Rashaan Evans
Birkett admits that he would have gone with a defensive lineman for the Lions here, but Taven Bryan, Marcus Davenport, Da’Ron Payne, Harold Landry and Vita Vea had already been taken in his mock.
Of Evans, Birkett writes, “He can play weakside or middle linebacker, he’s an excellent blitzer, he comes from an Alabama system that should allow him to compete early and Matt Patricia loves him some linebackers.”
The MLive fellas shared the same position for the Lions’ pick, but went with different players. Interestingly enough, both players were available in each of their mocks, and each chose the opposite players for the Falcons at 26th overall.
Meinke chose Payne because, “Almost everyone agrees he is a plug-and-play starter. He might be the best interior run defender in this draft right now.”
Atkins goes with Bryan because, “has the size and strength to play a five-technique role much like he did at Florida at times.”
The Detroit News
Justin Rogers - DE Harold Landry
With the likes of Marcus Davenport and Da’Ron Payne and Vita Vea off the board, the fan-favorite Harold Landry managed to fall to Detroit in Rogers’ mock draft. Deciding to pass on adding an interior offensive lineman, Rogers justifies the pick saying the Lions “should be thrilled if the board falls this way,” because of the lack of edge talent in this class.
Michael Rothstein - DT Taven Bryan
In the official ESPN beat writer mock, Rothstein matched Atkins’ pick of Taven Bryan at 20th overall. Rothstein considered some offensive options, including guard Will Hernandez and running back Derrius Guice, but landed on Bryan because of Detroit’s massive need for front seven players.
Surprisingly, Rothstein chose Bryan over Davenport, who was also still available for the Lions. He rationalizes his choice based on Matt Patricia’s preferences. “Patricia, though, values building the defense starting in the middle and if there’s a part of the middle of the defense that is a bigger issue than the others, it’s defensive tackle,” Rothstein wrote.
Ty Schalter - DT Maurice Hurst
Continuing with the theme of defensive linemen, Schalter picked a third different player among the front four. Hurst is “a premium talent at a premium position that happens to also be a premium need,” Schalter writes. Guice and Evans was also considered with this pick, but Hurst was the choice.