Let’s cut right to the chase: the Lions are one-hundred percent invested in improving their running game. Taking center Frank Ragnow with their 20th overall pick, and then trading up in the second round to select running back Kerryon Johnson are clear indicators this team wants to do a much better job running the football than they have in the past.
The selection that had people scratching their heads was the Lions third-round pick, safety Tracy Walker from Louisiana. While Detroit certainly needed a safety to fit Patricia’s three-safety looks in nickel sets, no one saw the selection of Walker coming at that point in the draft.
Let’s see how things could shake out for Detroit, who comes into Day 3 with just two picks after sending their fourth-round pick to New England to move up and take Johnson.
As always, I’m using FanSpeak.com’s “On the Clock” tool to accomplish this mock draft, and if you jump on over there, they’re updating things live, so you mock draft junkies can get your fix pick by pick.
Round 5, Pick 153: LB Genard Avery (Memphis)
Who knows if Avery will be available, as I thought he could have been a Day 2 selection for a number of teams, but here he is, still available and ready to immediately contribute on special teams at the very least.
Avery, while undersized, is incredibly athletic and was productive as ever his senior season—he had 80 tackles, 22 of which were tackles for loss. Perhaps the question marks people have about his instincts and ability in coverage have caused him to fall this far in the draft, but in Detroit, where Matt Patricia likes his linebackers big—Avery is 6-foot-1 but 249 pounds—he could be a rotational player and immediate contributor on special teams.
Round 7, Pick 237: TE Chris Herndon (Miami Fla.)
TE Chris Herndon (Miami) is ahead of schedule in his return from an MCL injury. One of the most complete tight ends in the 2018 draft, Herndon's versatility as a pass-catcher and blocker will give him immediate value in the league. @FirstRoundMgmt #FRM pic.twitter.com/8U7bADq1kR— Peter Ariz (@PeterAriz) February 15, 2018
Herndon suffered an MCL injury that cut his senior season a bit short, but the tape he put out there for teams proved he’s worthy of a pick on Day 3. He has the size profile teams look for in their tight ends (6-foot-4, 253 pounds), as well as the athletic ability, but Herndon is still rather raw and unrefined as a prospect. He’s versatile, has a great set of hands (didn’t drop a single pass while at Miami), and has the tools and effort to be a productive blocker at the tight end position. Some of Herndon’s best traits are his ability to run after the catch and work the vertical part of the field—or the type of things Eric Ebron did when he was playing his best football in Detroit.