Go through the gallery to see Justin Rogers’ NFL mock draft 3.0. Click here if you have trouble viewing the gallery.
Allen Park — Usually, I have a pretty good feel for what the Detroit Lions will do in the first round of the draft. Last year, I pegged the Jarrad Davis selection. The year before, I had the right position, wrong player, when slotting Jack Conklin to Detroit. He ended up going a few picks earlier to the Tennessee Titans and the Lions landed Ohio State’s Taylor Decker, a happy consolation.
I even warned fans in 2014 about the very realistic possibility of the Lions taking tight end Eric Ebron (even though I thought reason would rule the day and Aaron Donald would be the choice).
But this year, with the flow of information slowed to a trickle, and a medical situation keeping me from attending the combine, I feel as much in the dark as I have in recent memory. And it’s not like I can fall back on the recognizable trend of general manager Bob Quinn filling his team’s biggest need, because even that is uncertain with a new coaching staff adding variables to the equation with yet-to-be-unveiled schematic changes.
The Lions could go any number of directions in the first round. There’s a clear need for talent along the defensive line, the left guard situation is anything but settled and there’s the long-running need for a featured running back. Plus, given Matt Patricia’s affinity for linebackers, and long-term needs in the secondary, those positions are also in play.
So allow me to present my final mock draft, a reflection of educated guesswork, that is tested starting with the very first pick of the draft. You’ll soon see I’ve slotted a defensive lineman to the Lions, but one that could easily be off the board by the time they’re on the clock. The selection, more than anything, is indicative of the direction I believe the Lions will go Thursday night. Given the roster makeup and position value, give me BDLA — best defensive lineman available — edge rusher or tackle, whoever it may be.