Go through the gallery to see Justin Rogers’ NFL mock draft 3.0 for 2019. Click here if you have trouble viewing the gallery.
Allen Park — After today, I’ll be able to pack away the crystal ball, at least until next year. If we’re being honest, I should have returned the thing when I had the chance.
Mock drafts are an exercise in futility. It’s a lot of guesswork, hopefully grounded in logic, but you’re trying to predict what 32 secretive entities are thinking by reading the tea leaves and navigating through a wealth of misinformation.
And even though it somewhat defies conventional wisdom, considering there are fewer possibilities, it’s almost been difficult to project what the Detroit Lions will do at No. 8 than it has been when they’re picking in the late teens or early 20s.
As you’ll see, assuming you read through the gallery, I ultimately settled on Detroit taking LSU linebacker Devin White. And if we’re being honest, it was kind of an easy decision the way my mock played out. White is one of a handful of prospects, including Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen and Alabama’s Quinnen Williams, who are no-brainer choices at No. 8 if they make it that far. Many, maybe most, will have all three gone in their projections before the Lions have a shot.
White brings exceptional speed, coverage skills and situational pass-rush ability to the second level. Paired with Jarrad Davis, the Lions would have as much speed, athleticism and versatility with their off-the-ball linebackers as any team in the NFL.
If White, Williams and Allen are gone, there’s a good chance Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson is the choice. It might not be popular with fans still clinging to the ghosts of Brandon Pettigrew and Eric Ebron, but three factors play into the thinking here.
First, it fills a glaring need, even after the team signed Jesse James in free agency. And we all know general manager Bob Quinn prefers to plug an obvious roster hole with his first-round choice. Second, following another Quinn trend, Hockenson is a safe option with a high floor, despite the unconventional position for a top-10 selection. And finally, the GM, and by extension, the environment he was groomed in New England, doesn’t place the same emphasis as other teams and analysts on early-round edge rushers.
Or it could be none of those things and the Lions could do something few saw coming, like when they selected offensive lineman Frank Ragnow a year ago. Regardless, it will be nice to discuss and evaluate how the real choice will fit in 2019 and beyond after dabbling in these hypotheticals the past few months.
Detroit News reporters discuss the Lions' first-round options and what the team needs to accomplish over the entire NFL Draft. Justin Rogers, The Detroit News