We’ve explored a lot of options for the Detroit Lions’ first-round pick, from defensive line to cornerback to linebacker and tight end or wide receiver. However, we’ve mostly avoided talking about grabbing an offensive lineman, despite guard being one of the team’s biggest needs. The general consensus is that the value isn’t there at eighth overall given this year’s talent available.
However, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah plunges into the unconventional in his latest Mock Draft 3.0.
Jeremiah’s mock is full of a bunch of surprises, even before the Lions are on the clock. Ed Oliver goes third overall to the Jets before Quinnen Williams is off the board. The New York Giants take a quarterback, but it’s Duke’s Daniel Jones over Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins.
As for his pick for the Lions, he slots Alabama’s left tackle Jonah Williams at eight. Interestingly enough, Jeremiah lists Williams as a guard—where the Lions’ biggest need lies.
Williams is certainly a polarizing prospect this year. Due to shorter-than-ideal arms, some are projecting him to slide inside. However, others believe his fantastic career at Alabama makes him an ideal tackle candidate in the NFL, and others with even shorter arms—like 49ers Pro Bowler Joe Staley—have gone on to have successful careers.
Whether run blocking or pass blocking, Jonah Williams didn't care: he did IT ALL extremely well. pic.twitter.com/czDRMgMNrf— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 7, 2019
Although Lions general manager Bob Quinn has certainly shown his affinity for drafting offensive linemen in his three previous drafts—Taylor Decker, Graham Glasgow, Frank Ragnow, Tyrell Crosby—taking on Williams would be a considerable risk, especially if their plan was to move him to guard. Williams has never played the position before and making that sort of move immediately for a top-10 pick is a little unorthodox.
Jonah Williams #RAS didn't really move much and still sits right about average. His metrics are a bit more palatable at guard than tackle, though those agility drills are still not good at all. pic.twitter.com/wTUKL9c5JX— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 15, 2019
That being said, many believe Williams would make a relatively quick transition to the inside and his arm length would be less of a liability there. Additionally, Williams was a mauler in the run game for the Crimson Tide, which would meld nicely with the identity the Lions are trying to assume on offense. Throw in his SEC resume—a conference the Lions have often plucked from in the draft—and there is certainly some logic to Jeremiah’s pick, even if it would almost certainly be unpopular with the fanbase.