We examined 58 of the latest mock drafts, and the Lions will ... well, who the heck knows

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Who will the Lions pick at No. 8? We'll find out tonight.

Allen Park — It's always amusing to look at the last-minute projections and see how far they actually end up from reality.

Every year, we round up the final mock drafts from a few dozen analysts and see who they predict the Detroit Lions will select in the first round. 

Last year, we gathered 33 and zero had the Lions taking offensive lineman Frank Ragnow. That's amazing, when you think about it, and speaks to how well the team kept its interests and intentions away from the prying eyes and ears of the media. 

Selecting eighth, you'd think the options would narrow. Let's see how the local and national pundits fare this year.

We collected 58 different takes for your reading pleasure. 

►T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa (17)

Mocked by:Charlie Casserly (NFL.com), Chris Trapasso (CBS Sports), Albert Breer (MMQB), Steve Serby (NY Post), Sam Farmer (LA Times), Luke Easterling (USA Today), Dave Birkett (Detroit Free Press), Kyle Meinke (MLive), Nate Atkins (MLive), D. Orlando Ledbetter (Atlanta Journal Constitutional), Pro Football Weekly staff, Brad Biggs (Chicago Tribune), Jenny Vrentas (MMQB), Ray Fittipaldo (Pittsburgh Post Gazette), Manesh Mehta (New York Daily News), Ben Volin (Boston Globe), Mike Florio (PFT)

Thoughts: Whoa, boy. Hockenson was the runaway choice at the buzzer, with nearly 30 percent of the votes. It would unquestionably be a divisive pick, at least locally. First, because it's an unusual position to address in the top-10 of the draft. Secondly, the last time the Lions did it, with Eric Ebron, it didn't pan out. That said, it's a pick that makes sense, because it fills a huge need, and by all appearances, both Hockenson's floor and ceiling are high.  

►Trade down (8)

Mocked by: Daniel Jeremiah (NFL.com), Peter Schrager (NFL.com), R.J. White (CBS Sports)Evan Silva (RotoWorld), Pete Prisco (CBS Sports), Dane Brugler (The Athletic), Nate Davis, USA Today, Chris Burke (The Athletic)

Thoughts: The Lions would love to move back and there are plenty out there who believe they'll find a taker for the No. 8 pick. The options vary, with Washington (No. 15) being the most popular choice and Houston (No. 23) the most drastic option. 

►Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State (7)

Mocked by:Chad Rueter (NFL.com), Danny Kelly (The Ringer), Thomas Bassinger (Tampa Bay Times), Mike O'Hara (Detroit Lions), Jeff Risdon (Lions Wire), Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News), DraftTek

Thoughts: Like most teams, the Lions could use more pass-rushing production off the edge, and the consensus, solidified by his performance at the scouting combine, is Sweat would be the best available at No. 8. On the flip side, many analysts feel the Mississippi State product is dropping, in part because of a heart condition that was flagged by the medical evaluations at the combine. 

►Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State (6)

Mocked by:Mel Kiper (ESPN), Todd McShay (ESPN)Ryan Wilson (CBS Sports), Chris Collingsworth (Pro Football Focus), Mark Craig (Minneapolis Star Tribune), John McClain (Houston Chronicle)

Thoughts: Beyond Sweat, Burns is probably the next best pass-rushing option. An undersized edge defender in college, he's added 20 pounds to his frame since his last college game, without losing his trademark speed and quickness. In Detroit, he'd likely backup Devon Kennard and potentially replace him in the starting lineup in 2020. 

►Jonah Williams, OL, Alabama (5)

Mocked by: Matt Miller (Bleacher Report), Jason LaCanfora (CBS Sports), Ryan O'Halloran (Denver Post), Yahoo Sports staff, Aaron Wilson (Houston Chronicle)

Thoughts: The Lions arguably need a guard more than any other position. Williams, a dominant pass-protecting tackle in college, has physical traits that's led many to speculate he's best suited to move inside as a pro. If the Lions go this route, it would mark the third time in four years general manager Bob Quinn has addressed his offensive line in the first round. 

►Ed Oliver, DT, Houston (4)

Mocked by: Charles Davis (NFL.com), Jimmy Kempski (Philly Voice), Aaron Kasinitz (PennLive), Robert Klemko (MMQB)

Thoughts: There are obvious schematic concerns regarding how Oliver fits in Detroit, but good coaches find a way to make it work with exceptional talent. The undersized interior lineman is primed to be an excellent backfield penetrator, not gap controller, which Detroit generally asks its defensive tackles to do. 

►Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan (2)

Mocked by:John Clayton (Washington Post), Tony Pauline (Draft Analyst)

Thoughts: On paper, Gary checks all the boxes. He brings great athleticism and size to the table, but the individual production wasn't there at Michigan. Was it scheme or something else? A low Wonderlic score and a shoulder injury that will eventually require surgery certainly haven't helped his draft stock. 

►Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky (2)

Mocked by: Walter Cherepinsky (Walter Football), Rob Rang (Football Maven)

Thoughts: It's fair to call this a dream scenario for the Lions. Allen, widely believed to be the second-best edge prospect in this class, would be a gift from the football gods if he slips through the cracks into the Lions' waiting arms. 

►Byron Murphy, CB, Washington (2)

Mocked by:Cam Inman (San Jose Mercury News), Liam McKeone (The Big Lead)

Thoughts: Murphy isn't the tallest or fastest cornerback, but he's technically sound and has a nose for the ball. Quinn has emphasized adding playmakers to his roster and Murphy would certainly be an upgrade in that department at CB2. Still, it feels like a reach to use a top-10 pick given the other potential options. 

►Devin White, LB, LSU (2)

Mocked by:Michael Renner (Pro Football Focus), Justin Rogers (Detroit News)

Thoughts: White, like Allen, isn't expected to be available to the Lions. But if he's there, it seems like an easy decision. Athletic and fast, White would help in coverage and as a situational pass-rusher, giving the Lions a dynamic pairing with Jarrad Davis.

►Devin Bush, LB, Michigan (1)

Mocked by:Josh Norris (RotoWorld)

Thoughts: Take those things I just wrote about White and you can apply them to Bush, as well. A touch shorter than White, Bush makes up for for the deficiency with superior leaping ability. He's also probably a more sure tackler than White as this stage. 

►Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida (1)

Mocked by:Peter King (NBC Sports)

Thoughts: Unlike Williams, Taylor is more of a pure tackle. The selection would reflect a focus on best player available over need, which would be out of character for Quinn in the first round. In this hypothetical, would the Lions try to move Rick Wagner to guard? 

►Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson (1)

Mocked by:Zack Rosenblatt (NJ.com)

Thoughts: Ferrell is a well-rounded, high-floor, high-football-character prospect who projects more as a solid, long-term starter than a potential star. 


Twitter: @Justin_Rogers