Justin Gilbert is ranked the No. 11 player overall currently on Scouts Inc.'s Top 32 for ESPN. (Brett Deering / Getty Images)
ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft for 2014 Wednesday, and he thinks the Lions will try to fill a hole thatís been open for more than a decade.
With the No. 10 pick in the draft, Kiper predicts the Lions will select Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert.
At 6-foot, 200 pounds, Gilbert has prototypical size for an NFL cornerback. In his senior season, Gilbert had seven interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns, and was a second-team AP All-American.
Hereís Kiperís reasoning for the pick: ďWith continued improvement from Ezekiel Ansah to go with the dominance of the interior of that defensive line, the Lions could create a ton of pressure on opposing QBs next season. The problem is if they can't do a better job of covering, it might not make a difference. Gilbert would help the cause coming off a season where you could argue that no cornerback in college football performed better. He has the size to compete with bigger wide receivers and the agility and speed to run with anybody. He also brings strong return skills.Ē
Kiper predicts the No. 1 pick will be Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel to the Texans.
Gilbert, Michigan Stateís Darqueze Dennard and Ohio Stateís Bradley Roby are considered the top cornerbacks in the 2014 draft. Kiper has Dennard going 24th to the Bengals and Roby going 25th to the Chargers.
The Lions have drafted four cornerbacks ó Darius Slay, Bill Bentley, Jonte Green and Chris Greenwood ó the past two seasons and signed Chris Houston to a five-year contract last offseason, but are still looking for a No. 1 guy.
If the Lions donít go cornerback in the first round, they may look for a wide receiver. While Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in the league, Kris Durham was the Lionsí No. 2 receiver in 2013 and finished with just 38 catches for 490 yards and two touchdowns.
Kiper has seven wide receivers going in the first round of his mock draft ó Clemsonís Sammy Watkins (No. 5 to Oakland), Texas A&Mís Mike Evans (No. 13 to St. Louis), USCís Marqise Lee (No. 18 to the Jets), Florida Stateís Kelvin Benjamin (No. 22 to Philadelphia), Oregon Stateís Brandin Cooks (No. 28 to Carolina), LSUís Odell Beckham Jr. (No. 30 to San Francisco) and Penn Stateís Allen Robinson (No. 32 to Seattle).
Here is Kiperís complete mock draft (pay site).