McShay: Alabama’s Foster to Lions in early ’17 mock

The Detroit News
Reuben Foster

ESPN’s Todd McShay admits it’s too early for 2017 mock drafts.

However, he says that 15 players on his “way too early” mock draft one year ago ended up being first-round picks in 2016. And that was with Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith and UCLA linebacker Myles Jack dropping out of the first round, likely due to injury.

Nevertheless, McShay takes his best shot – based on Football Outsiders’ projected records for 2016 to establish the order – and predicts that the Lions will select Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster at No. 19 (pay site).

McShay: “Foster made his mark initially as a heavy hitter on Alabama's special-teams units, but he transitioned into a full-time starting role on defense last season, playing next to Reggie Ragland. The instincts, speed and tackling ability Foster showed in 2015 bode well for his NFL prospects.”

Foster (6-1, 240) was Alabama’s No. 2 tackler in 2015 with 73. He had eight tackles for loss, two sacks and nine pass breakups.

McShay’s top three picks are Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (Browns), Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya (Niners) and Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett (Giants).

Other projections of note are Michigan State defensive tackle Malik McDowell to the Falcons at No. 15 and Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers to the Panthers at No. 23.

Players just outside the first round but also considered by McShay were Michigan tight end Jake Butt and Iowa cornerback Desmond King of Detroit East English Village.

Lions think small school TE Wick can do big things