The Lions could find help for its ever-changing offensive line in the first round of next April’s NFL draft.
ESPN draft expert Todd McShay released his first mock draft Wednesday (pay site), and has the Lions taking Mississippi tackle Laremy Tunsil with the No. 7 overall pick.
“Assuming Tunsil is medically cleared — he broke his fibula last season — he projects to be a top-10 pick,” McShay wrote. “At 6-5, 305 pounds, Tunsil is a great athlete for his size and has the potential to develop into a very good pass protector in the NFL. The Lions could use one of those to better keep QB Matthew Stafford upright (80 sacks allowed since 2014).”
Also of interest: Connor Cook and Shilique Calhoun, two Michigan State standouts who returned for their senior seasons — and passed up potential first-round selections in last year’s draft — are not in McShay’s first-round projections.
Michigan State junior offensive tackle Jack Conkin is, however. McShay has Conklin heading to Tampa Bay with the No. 13 pick.
“I’m not sure if Conklin will go pro after this season or not,” McShay wrote. “He could use another season to continue to improve his hands and technique in pass protection. But if he leaves, he has the potential to develop into a starting offensive tackle in the NFL, so there’s a strong chance he’d be a first-round pick.
“The Bucs need to protect their investment in Jameis Winston, and with a massive frame (6-6, 325 pounds), Conklin shows good mobility for his size.”
According to McShay, ESPN used its “Football Power Index” to determine the draft order.