First things first, if you’re unfamiliar with our roundtable or how it works, check out our archive and some of our most recent discussions from this season:
- What does Detroit’s formal interview with Kyler Murray mean?
- Should Detroit trade Matthew Stafford?
- Who is the most valuable draft pick of Bob Quinn’s tenure as Lions GM?
- Are the Lions contenders or pretenders in the race for the NFC North crown?
- Does the addition of Damon Harrison make Detroit a playoff team?
- Was trading Golden Tate the right move?
- Will Detroit’s offense recapture its groove under Jim Bob Cooter?
- Did Detroit make a mistake in their approach to the 2018 NFL Draft?
It’s draft week, and the Detroit Lions are facing their most critical draft in this current regime’s tenure. Currently holding the No. 8 selection in this year’s NFL Draft, there’s been a ton of buzz surrounding what Bob Quinn is planning to do with the team’s first-round pick. Does Detroit nab the edge rusher they’ve so desperately needed since Quinn took over? Could the Lions be looking to add one of the draft’s top offensive playmakers? Could a team like the Atlanta Falcons be interested in supplying Quinn with more top-100 picks to move up to Detroit’s spot?
With less than 24 hours left until the draft gets underway, the staff at Pride of Detroit got together to do one last mock draft with each staff member in charge of one of the Lions draft picks.
Pride of Detroit’s 7-round Mock Draft for the Detroit Lions
Ryan Mathews: Alright, everyone has a pick they’re in charge of making, and I know Alex is going to bemoan what I anticipate Jeremy doing with No. 8. We can all agree that—barring Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen or some other phenomenal talent slipping—trading the pick is probably the best move though, right? Jeremy’s on the clock...
Jeremy Reisman: For proper context, here are the first seven players off the board (in no order):
Without the benefit of a top-tier talent falling to Detroit, I’m faced with a decision to take a second-tier defensive lineman, the best corner or tight end off the board or someone like Jonah Williams to a chorus of boos.
But I don’t quite see it that way. My selection is Ed Oliver and I think he’s easily the best player still available—and maybe even a top-tier defender in this class.
Detroit has put themselves in a position where they can afford to just go based on talent, and Oliver has it in spades. Sure, he’s “undersized,” and sure, the Aaron Donald comparisons go a little overboard. However, his athletic profile shows just how much potential he has, and he was already crazy productive in college, putting up at least 14.5 tackles for loss in three straight seasons.
Oliver can play all over the defensive front in his rookie year, and his addition will give the Lions some wiggle room when dealing with upcoming contract negotiations with A’Shawn Robinson and Snacks Harrison.
Kent Lee: While I like a lot of what Oliver brings to the table, I'm a bit wary about his fit in Matt Patrick's scheme. Sure, you should always try to adjust your scheme to premium talent on your roster, but where are you fitting snaps for Oliver on this front? He's not a wide edge, so you can't take snaps from Devon Kennard, the team surely won't be taking edge snaps from Flowers or their depth there in Okwara, both spots where Oliver fits best. Do you move him inside and relegate A'Shawn Robinson to a backup role? Or, a bit more likely, does it make Robinson a trade candidate?
Ryan: I’m making Detroit’s second pick, and we’re getting sweaty with this one. No, Montez Sweat isn’t available. My selection is Deebo Samuel, and the Lions are outfitting their offense with a dynamic offensive weapon.
Samuel gives Detroit a perfect replacement for the kind of production they so sorely missed after the departure of Golden Tate at last season’s trade deadline. Deebo is a player who can get immediate separation off the line, earns his yards after the catch with his athleticism and his competitive toughness, and is an incredibly polished route runner right out of the box.
Alex Reno: I don’t care what happens on Thursday, if Deebo is available at 43 and we don’t pick him, I’m going to throw a fit. He’s too perfect for what Detroit currently needs, and that is someone that can create separation and get open consistently. I’ve been pounding the table for this man for too long.
If Golden Tate is gone (he probably is), GIVE ME DEEBO SAMUEL— Alex Reno (@alex_reno) September 8, 2018
Hamza: Round 3 puts the Lions in an interesting spot. With pre-draft riser Terry McLaurin still on the board, I would’ve given him serious consideration had we not picked Deebo in Round 2. Other notable names included Alabama S Deionte Thompson, Ole Miss TE Dawson Knox, and Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson.
I was really hoping Maryland S Darnell Savage would still be on the board, but he was gone in the second round. I liked him a lot more than I did Thompson, so I was hesitant to spend a third rounder on a safety otherwise. I was tempted to grab Jackson, but the Lions have too many holes in my opinion for them to go quarterback any earlier than the fourth round.
That left Dawson Knox staring me square in the face, and boy did I pounce. Knox has been mocked as high as the first round, so to see him in round three made it a no-brainer. Knox has incredible athleticism and a high ceiling, and he would complement Jesse James as well. James’ role could help Knox ease into the role of TE1 rather than being forced into a set of unreasonable expectations (coughEricEbroncough), and having James—a serviceable, but not special TE1—locked up for four years would quell Knox’s injury concerns.
Jerry Mallory: Cutting straight to the Lions’ fourth-round pick, Detroit needs to address a need. Cornerback Corey Ballentine is a project. At this point in the draft, you’re getting proven guys statistically from big schools with red flags (health, character, measurables or other), small-school players with potential, or a number of other players in between—but no sure-fire prospects.
Ballentine has good size, good production and great athleticism coming out of a small school in Washburn. All the tools are there to build a guy who could eventually ascend to taking on CB2 duties across from Darius Slay. Fortunately for him, he won’t be asked to rush into that role too soon because he’s going to need time to develop. He struggled against stiffer competition at the Senior Bowl, so the NFL caliber WRs would likely pose a serious issue early on. But with time, coaching, and dedication, he could blossom into a legit corner on the outside. As mentioned, all the tools are there to make it happen.
Mansur Shaheen: While he may not be the biggest guy in the field, Boston College defensive back Will Harris makes his presence known whenever he is out there. The former Eagle can play every position in the defensive backfield and has the playmaking ability Detroit desperately lacked back there in 2018. He does not have the highest ceiling but he could easily earn a few snaps on defense in his rookie year.
Kent Lee: Finding someone to take over the right guard spot is tricky in the 2019 draft. While there are plenty of prospects, many of them are converting from left tackle to right guard, which is a much bigger shift than Madden would have you believe. Or they have some flaw or another that makes them less than desirable. So when you have a prospect who rated highly both by athletic metrics like RAS and by tape analytics like PFF, you have to jump on him, right?
Hjalte Froholdt posted a top-10 PFF grade as a pass blocker and a 90th percentile RAS. Sweet! His run blocking was not good. Like, 106th in the nation not good, which is probably why he’s fallen this far, and why he isn’t being talked about more. Personally, I love his metrics and backstory, but he’s basically the anti-Arkansas offensive lineman, and his tape is pretty much the opposite of what you’d expect his athletic scoring to look like. Still, there’s plenty of potential to develop, and at 184th overall, Froholdt is a bargain.
The 204th pick is going to be Tennessee’s Kyle Phillips. Phillips is a plus-sized defensive end, falling into that tweener range. He put up elite numbers at defensive end anyway, and much like Da’Shawn Hand, that puts him in an interesting spot from a projection standpoint. Also like Hand, the Lions showed intense interest in Phillips at his pro day, and he’s simply a player that fits Matt Patricia’s profile at defensive end. Big and lengthy with a strong athletic profile, Phillips is the perfect type of player to take at this point in the draft and develop.
Alex: Congratulations if you’ve made it this far. I’ll be in charge of the final two picks for the Lions (No. 224 and 229). We’ve basically reached the point where players selected this late in the draft are unlikely to make much of an impact on an NFL roster, but I’ve got a couple of small school prospects that I like quite a bit and I believe that they’re a couple of nice fits for the Lions.
The first is James Madison cornerback Jimmy Moreland. A smaller corner, Moreland fits what Quinn and company have been looking for in a playmaker on the defensive end. Over the course of his career, he nabbed a total of 18 interceptions (15 in the past two years and six for touchdowns). I like Moreland enough to take him a bit higher and it’s very possible that he does hear his name called earlier on Day 3, but this is our mock draft and we do what we want.
And with our final pick of the draft, we are fortunate enough to land Keelan Doss, the wide receiver out of UC Davis. Doss is very good in contested situations, much like Marvin Jones, and could even replace him down the road if the Lions ever do move on from Marvin and if Doss can reach his potential. I like Doss’ versatility and believe he can play as a big slot or as a Z-receiver in the NFL.
Round 1, Pick 8 - IDL Ed Oliver (Jeremy)
Round 2, Pick 11 (43 overall) - WR Deebo Samuel (Ryan)
Round 3, Pick 25 (88 overall) - TE Dawson Knox (Hamza)
Round 4, Pick 9 (111 overall) - CB Corey Ballentine (Jerry)
Round 5, Pick 8 (146 overall) - S Will Harris (Mansur)
Round 6, Pick 11 (184 overall) - OG Hjalte Froholdt (Kent)
Round 6, Pick 32 (204 overall) - EDGE Kyle Phillips (Kent)
Round 7, Pick 10 (224 overall) - CB Jimmy Moreland (Alex)
Round 7, Pick 15 (229 overall) - WR Keelan Doss (Alex)
How would you grade POD’s mock draft?
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