With 15 weeks of the regular season left to go, you’d figure that mock drafts are still a ways off. As it is, the draft community never stops grinding and the first mock drafts for 2020 came out literally the day after the first round of the 2019 NFL draft. As usual, though, this time of year is less about projecting where people will be drafted and by whom than it is name recognition and projecting needs. So let’s take a look at who the draftniks have chosen for the Lions so far.
Grant Delpit, FS, Louisiana State
The Detroit Lions drafted Tracy Walker in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft. They then drafted Will Harris in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft. Quandre Diggs was also extended during this time. So why is it that so many draftniks are projecting the Detroit Lions pick a safety with their first pick? Mostly it’s just shoehorning a guy that’s well liked where they think he should go. Hopefully by actual draft time, how silly of a selection this would be gets figured out by the draft community.
That’s not to disparage Delpit in any way. Grant Delpit is, by most accounts, a fine prospect that would benefit any team actually in the market for a safety.
“The Lions’ secondary could use an influx of talent pretty much anywhere, but Delpit’s versatile coverage ability seems like a perfect match for Matt Patricia’s defense. Delpit can seamlessly go from the slot, to box, to deep safety and still make plays.”
Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Alabama corners are tough ones to project because you ALWAYS see either one or two in the top 15-20 at the start of the season but just as often see them fall off quickly. The Lions could surely use a cornerback in 2020 early. Despite drafting Amani Oruwariye, the Lions are likely to see Rashaan Melvin depart even if he continues to play well for the rest of 2019, leaving a familiar hole on the Lions defense. Of Diggs, Luke Easterling says the following:
“Darius Slay is one of the league’s best corners, but he needs an improved running make across the field. Diggs could have been a fairly early selection last year, but he’s healthier and more polished this season, and it’s showing on tape.”
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
The consensus number one receiver to start this season, Jeudy is going to be fending off challengers all year, including members of his own team. The Lions top receivers are only under contract through 2020, and they have virtually no one guaranteed to be on the team beyond that. It’s likely that the Lions lock up Kenny Golladay, but what are the odds they extend Marvin Jones as well? The door is wide open to a threat like Jeudy, who can play anywhere in the offense and adds an element of speed the Lions haven’t had at receiver since Calvin Johnson. Matt Miller, who mocked him to the Lions recently, said this:
“The top wide receiver in the draft comes off the board, and the Detroit Lions have to be excited about pairing him with Kenny Golladay to open up an offense that could be flat-out dangerous. Jerry Jeudy is a great route-runner with top-notch hands and good speed. He’s one of the most complete wide receivers to come out of college football in quite some time.”
Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
I think the idea of the Lions drafting a cornerback early is not going to go away. While Grant Delpit has been the most mocked individual player to the Lions, cornerback has been the most mocked position, and I doubt that trend slows down much. The Draft Network’s Kyle Crabbs posted his first mock of the season and gave the Lions Bryce Hall out of Virginia, stating this:
“Big Play Slay at corner is a huge plus. Opposite him? Not so much. Justin Coleman signed to play the nickel and the rest of the Lions’ options to play outside in a division filled with good receivers needs work. Enter Bryce Hall, the tall, long corner with phenomenal ball skills and influence at the catch point. Hall is pro ready and should be considered a plug and play starter.”
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa
Taylor Decker’s play has been disappointing for a recent first-round pick. Rick Wagner’s play has been disappointing as a high-priced free agent. Tyrell Crosby’s play and inability to remain healthy has been disappointing, making the chances of a late-round sleeper hitting a bit lower. The Lions are very likely to be in the market for one or two offensive tackles in 2020, and along with cornerback, I would expect this to be one of the most common positions mocked to the team. NFL Draft Geek’s Brian Johannes recently mocked Tristan Wirfs to the Lions, stating:
“Under Matt Patricia the Lions have wanted to go more of a run oriented attack and to do so they’ll need a strong offensive line. On the surface the Lions seem set at tackle with Taylor Decker and Ricky Wagner, but Wagner has been a bit of a disappointment while Taylor just hasn’t seemed the same since his injuries. Wirfs has been the Hawkeyes right tackle the past couple of years but with teammate Alaric Jackson hurt, Wirfs has moved over to the left side and enjoyed some good success. This versatility allows the Lions some options on what they can do with the talented bookend.”