How much does an NFL general manager change their draft board after the NFL Combine? It’s a question that’s hard to know the answer to. Obviously, you want athletic measurements to be part of the scouting process, but given that these personnel evaluators have been watching these guys for at least a year by the time they reach Indianapolis, there’s a pretty good chance they know plenty about each prospect already.
That being said, there’s little doubt that NFL Draft analysts in the media change their mind quite a bit after the week in Indy. It’s not only a matter of getting more information about the players and their athletic prowess, but after consuming a week of rumors and insider news, the media may have a better grasp on what teams will do in April.
Of course, after Combine week is over, the next step is creating a mock draft with all this newfound information. This week, we saw a big influx of new mock drafts, so let’s take a look at 10 of them to see if there are trends in regards to the Detroit Lions.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah - Michigan EDGE Rashan Gary
ESPN’s Todd McShay - Michigan EDGE Rashan Gary
USA Today’s Nate Davis - Michigan EDGE Rashan Gary
SB Nation’s Dan Kadar - Mississippi State EDGE Montez Sweat
The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs - Mississippi State EDGE Montez Sweat
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller - Mississippi State EDGE Montez Sweat
Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer - Mississippi State EDGE Montez Sweat
Newsday’s Nick Klopsis - Mississippi State EDGE Montez Sweat
CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli - LSU LB Devin White
CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson - Florida State EDGE Brian Burns
Well, that’s interesting. Literally everyone but one analyst has the Lions taking an edge defender, and none of them slotted Clemson edge Clelin Ferrell to the Lions.
That’s notable, because prior to the NFL Combine, Ferrell had been one of the most popular picks for the Lions, as noted by SB Nation’s 2019 Mock Draft Database:
It’s no surprise that Montez Sweat and Rashan Gary are two of the biggest risers when it comes to Lions projections. Sweat increased his draft stock exponentially after a surprisingly dominant performance at the NFL Combine. Meanwhile, Gary has position versatility—something the Lions value—and his athleticism displayed at the Combine was no surprise.
It is a little surprising seeing only one of the 10 mockers slot Brian Burns to the Lions, seeing as he also had a very decent Combine and is potentially more likely to be available at eight. I’d expect to see more of Burns’ name as we get closer to the draft.
Amidst rumors that the Lions are not interested in drafting a cornerback with their first-round pick, it’s no surprise that Greedy Williams isn’t on any of these new mocks. Todd McShay had the Lions taking Greedy in his last mock draft, but now he is among the Gary crew.
Overall, it’s fascinating to see such a large consensus among NFL mock drafters. That being said, the way this draft class is turning out, maybe we shouldn’t be that surprised. Edge is clearly one of the team’s biggest needs with Ezekiel Ansah not expected to return, and the top of the draft may be filled with more talent at that position than originally thought.