ESPN's Mel Kiper, draft expert, has the Lions taking LSU offensive tackle La'el Collins in the first round (23rd overall), Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips in the second and Miami running back Duke Johnson in the third in his three-round mock draft.
Kiper explains the conclusions of his three-round mock draft: "I'm not projecting. It's more a look at where I see value up and down the board."
Josh Katzenstein of The Detroit News rates Collins (6-4, 305) the No. 3 offensive tackle in the draft and he has Phillips (6-5, 329) as the sixth-best NFL prospect at defensive tackle.
Johnson (5-9, 205) rushed for 1,652 yards on 242 carries (6.8-yard average) with 10 TD for the Hurricanes in 2014.
Kiper on his three Lions picks: "My strategy at No. 23 was to take either the best offensive lineman or best defensive tackle available based on my draft board, unless I got blown away by value at another position. In this case, I had Collins available as the No. 22 player on my Big Board, and Eddie Goldman available as the No. 23 player. So I'm sticking to the board and taking Collins, who I'll plug in immediately at left guard and improve an offensive line that took a step back in 2014. I do think Collins has the ability to play tackle (certainly right tackle) as he gets seasoning, and my tackles are merely adequate, but for now I have a position for him. Phillips is a special athlete but is only available at No. 54 overall because he's had back issues and has a motor that notoriously runs hot and cold. But he's a good get at this point, and we all know we need to add depth at defensive tackle, where Ndamukong Suh's 900-plus snaps a season are now gone. Johnson is a good fit here, as a complement to Joique Bell and perhaps the most natural pass-catcher out of the backfield in the entire draft."