Kiper has Lions taking ’Bama’s Reed; Conklin to Raiders

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

The Lions struggled to recover from losing All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh last year, and there’s a good chance they’ll look for help at that position in the draft this year.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. thinks the Lions could try to fill the void on their defensive interior in the first round, and in his first mock draft (pay site), he projected Alabama defensive lineman Jarran Reed to Detroit with the 16th pick.

The 6-foot-4, 313-pound Reed finished the 2015 season with 57 tackles, 4.5 for loss, one sack and a fumble recovery.

“Detroit’s defense began to round into form during the second half of the season, but they were a mess early on as they adjusted to life without Ndamukong Suh,” Kiper wrote of the projection. “Reed is a player who makes you better against the run right away. He plays with leverage, can wreck running lanes along the interior of the D-line, and frees up others to make plays.”

Kiper also projected Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin to the Raiders at No. 14.

“The Raiders have their quarterback of the future,” Kiper wrote, “but they could also lose a pair of tackles in free agency, and even then they’d be wise to get some immediate insurance out of the draft. Conklin has been a steady force on the MSU line for three years and is great at limiting pressure and also getting after it in the run game.