The last time the Detroit Lions drafted a guard in the first round, it didn’t go so well. But that shouldn’t prevent the team from going that route again if they believe they can land the right fit.
That’s what ESPN analyst Todd McShay has the team doing with the No. 20 selection in his latest mock draft, slotting Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn to the Lions.
McShay notes Detroit’s bigger need for a defensive end, but believes any of the talent still on the board in his projection would be a reach.
“An edge rusher would be ideal with Ezekiel Ansah a pending free agent, but I don’t see a great value here,” McShay writes. “Detroit has plenty of needs on defense, but needs to keep Matthew Stafford upright to have any chance. Wynn developed into a dominant OT at Georgia and had a brilliant week of practice at the Senior Bowl when they moved him to guard.”
A 15-game starter at left tackle in 2017, Wynn earned first-team All-SEC and second-team All-American honors. The previous two seasons, he started 25 games at left guard, the position he projects to play at the pros.
As McShay notes, the 6-foot-2, 308-pound Wynn was outstanding at the Senior Bowl. He was named the week’s best offensive lineman after the week of practice at the annual college all-star game.
“In my experiences in the NFL, we did this when I was with the Ravens and Browns, you take an outside blocker and move him inside, if they have the girth, quickness and power, they can survive in there,” Senior Bowl director Phil Savage said. “Isaiah Wynn is going to be a longtime starter in there at guard.”
The Lions would benefit from adding a dominant guard this offseason, allowing Graham Glasgow to move to center. The potential addition of Wynn would complete general manager Bob Quinn’s complete overhaul of the offensive line in just three seasons.
Quinn drafted Glasgow and left tackle Taylor Decker in 2016, his first year with the team. Last year, the right side was revamped through free agency when the Lions committed big-money deals to Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang.
But the results didn’t match the investment as 2017. The unit battled a number of injuries as the team finished last in the NFL in rushing and Stafford was sacked a career-high 47 times.
If the Lions selected Wynn, it would mark the second time in four years the team used its first-round pick on a guard. In 2015, the Lions traded down from No. 23 to No. 28 before snagging Duke’s Laken Tomlinson. He struggled during his two seasons in Detroit and was benched in favor of Glasgow during the 2016 season. The team shipped Tomlinson to the 49ers last August for a fifth-round choice in 2019.
Hurst to Cowboys
A popular mock draft pick for the Lions, Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, is gone by the time the team is on the clock in McShay’s projection. He has the athletic interior lineman going to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 19, a move that would reunite him with college teammate Taco Charlton.
“I’m higher on Hurst than others, but he’s a good value here in the mid-to-late first round,” McShay writes. “He’s highly disruptive in the middle and would be a good fit as a three-technique in (former Lions heado coach) Rod Marinelli’s scheme.”
A first-team All-American last season, Hurst recorded 61 tackles (14.5 for a loss) and five sacks as a senior. He accepted an invite to play in the Senior Bowl, but pulled out of the game due to an injury.