The Detroit Lions have spent the preseason playing short at defensive end. Ziggy Ansah hasn’t practiced since June, and Kerry Hyder was lost for the season with an Achilles injury suffered in the first preseason game.
And, though there was good news Tuesday, when Lions general manager Bob Quinn said he expects Ansah back for Week 1, the Lions also are looking at three rookies to vie for one or two defensive end positions, as well as second-year player Anthony Zettel.
So, there appears to be a need at the position.
Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports think so, too, projecting the same player — Boston College defensive end Harold Landry — for the Lions in separate 2018 mock drafts that were posted Wednesday.
Coming out with a mock draft before a season even starts requires plenty of projection all around. CBS Sports used projected win totals from SportsLine to give the Lions the No. 9 pick, while SI went with Super Bowl odds from VegasInsider.com to give the Lions the No. 11 pick.
Both, however, landed at Landry for the Lions.
“Landry claimed the 40th spot on our preseason Big Board a year ago,” Chris Burke of SI writes, “and had he entered the 2017 draft he would have been a Day 2 pick, at worst. Now, the sky’s the limit for him as he wraps his college career. Landry notched a whopping 16.5 sacks in ’16, but he’s also a force against the run (22.5 tackles for loss). He probably could start for the D-line-starved Lions in Week 1 this season.”
Ansah’s injury history and contract status necessitates the pick, according to Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports.
“What does the future hold for Ziggy Ansah?” Trapasso asks. “He has had trouble staying healthy and is in the final year of his rookie contract. Even if the Lions decide to retain their 2013 first-round selection, they need more juice off the edge. Landry is a highly productive defensive end who wins against offensive tackles in a variety of ways.”
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Landry also led the country with seven forced fumbles last season.
CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated also agreed Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst going in the same slot — No. 26 — though they have him being selected by different teams. CBS Sports has the Buffalo Bills taking Hurst, with the Raiders grabbing him in the Sports Illusrated mock.
“Chris Wormley and Taco Charlton were the headliners for Michigan’s D-line last year,” Burke writes. “Rashan Gary will carry the torch this year. But the Wolverines (and their opponents) are well aware of how critical Hurst is inside. He’s tough to run on and gets to the QB on occasion, a must for any tackle eyeing Round 1. By next draft, Oakland may be ready to commit major resources to its interior defense.”