Bob Quinn’s been talking about moving back in the draft to add more picks, so let’s examine what that scenario could look like.
Take back the clocks to the release of the last mock draft I published where the pseudo-Lions traded up to the fourth overall pick in the draft. It cost a ton of draft capital to move up just sixteen spots in the first round to have the chance to take NC State’s Bradley Chubb, but the point of that mock wasn’t about getting Chubb; the point of “Mock Draft 2.0” was to answer the question of just how costly it is to move up in the NFL Draft, and come to find out, it’s more than just about anybody is willing to pay, no matter the player you think the Lions should move up to draft—not Bradley Chubb, not Saquon Barkley, not anyone.
If you’re not of the belief the Lions need to make such a gigantic leap in the draft, but instead just a few spots to get someone like Boston College’s Harold Landry or Washington’s Vita Vea, I’m still not crazy about that happening either. Detroit has just six picks in this draft—tied for the fewest amount of selections in this year’s draft—and has far too many holes to fill on their offensive and defensive line. Beyond their needs, they also have too many contingency plans to put in place at positions like running back, tight end, and safety to consider moving up in the first round—which would likely cost them at least a third-round pick.
But here we are now, just a couple days away from the 2018 NFL Draft, and Bob Quinn is talking about how he wants more draft picks because, you know, duh.
As always, I’m using FanSpeak.com’s “On the Clock” tool to accomplish this mock draft.
Round 1, Pick 20: Traded to NE
It’s only a few spots, but after trading Jimmy Garoppolo last season at the trade deadline, the Patriots are likely back in the market for a young quarterback; it’s up to Bill Belichick to prepare the successor to Tom Brady for when his illustrious career comes to an end and he can finally eat a tomato again.
But here, Lamar Jackson is still on the board at 20, and the Patriots decide it’s more than worth it to sacrifice a late third-round pick for what will probably be the physical embodiment of complete and utter domination in the National Football League for the next decade: The Hoodie and The Heisman. Also, there’s some real interest from the Patriots in Jackson—New England hosted a pre-draft visit for the former Louisville quarterback a couple weeks ago on the low.
- New England trades No. 23 and No. 95
- Detroit trades No. 20
From Detroit’s perspective, take a look at the list of names that left the board between 10 and 19:
- No. 11 - Vita Vea, DL - Miami Dolphins
- No. 13 - Maurice Hurst, DL - Washington
- No. 14 - Harold Landry, EDGE - Green Bay Packers
- No. 15 - Denzel Ward, CB - Arizona Cardinals
- No. 16 - Isaiah Wynn, OG - Baltimore Ravens
- No. 19 - Taven Bryan, DL - Dallas Cowboys
Those are an awful lot of prospects that have been the subject of speculation as potential fits for Detroit based on team needs, so after this run of players coming off the board, moving back a few more spots for an extra pick in the third round makes sense.
Round 1, Pick 23: EDGE Marcus Davenport (University of Texas at San Antonio)
The Lions need a plan in place should Ezekiel Ansah decide to leave Detroit—or the team deems him too expensive for an extension—after this season, and Davenport represents the perfect substitute. While Detroit could certainly use another contributor immediately off the edge, the growth Anthony Zettel showed in 2017 and the return of Kerry Hyder could end up being a solid set of depth this season in a ‘better case scenario’ so to speak. With relatively little expectations for a prospect as fundamentally raw as Davenport, there’s going to be a learning curve as he makes his transition from Conference-USA to the NFL.
Marcus Davenport had five games where he produced six or more total sacks, hits and hurries in 2017 pic.twitter.com/jSnLJmPSK1— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 8, 2018
Round 2, Pick 51: OG Austin Corbett (Nevada)
With the second pick of their draft, the Lions are able to cross off another need on their list by selecting the versatile interior lineman from Nevada, Austin Corbett.
Nevada's Austin Corbett was in multiple positions during Senior Bowl week. Thought he stood out at C at times. Like here: SMOOSH pic.twitter.com/QSbzWddTcZ— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) January 29, 2018
After redshirting his freshman season, Corbett played left tackle for the Wolf Pack in 2014, taking over for Joel Bitonio and staying at the position for both his sophomore and junior seasons. Corbett, like Bitonio, projects to make the transition to guard, but could just as easily earn a spot playing center at the next level as well. A great fit in Detroit, Corbett would fill an immediate need with the hole the Lions have at left guard, capable of playing from the jump, but also giving them the flexibility to find the best fit for Graham Glasgow—should that be at either guard or center.
Round 3, Pick 81: DL Nathan Shepherd (Fort Hays State)
Once again, the Lions were in a position to address a need with one of the best available players on the board, this time with Fort Hays State’s Nathan Shepherd, a three-tech defensive tackle who, like Davenport, is still unrefined as a pass rusher, but has the desired measurable metrics and size to play the part at the next level.
Fort Hayes State DT Nathan Shepherd is giving me Brandon Williams feel, but more athletic. pic.twitter.com/QQF5PJ7mnb— Josh Zimmer (@CoachZim_) January 23, 2018
Round 3, Pick 95: S Marcus Allen (Penn State)
First of all, this is where I was planning on taking a running back. At pick 81, there were a plethora of backs still on the board like Georgia’s Nick Chubb, Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson, and Oregon’s Royce Freeman. All three of those backs evaporated from the board and there just wasn’t the value here to match.
So here, I decided to take the best safety available for Detroit, and that was senior Marcus Allen from Penn State, a true box safety who will make his living in the NFL near the line of scrimmage. capable of handling the underneath stuff in zone coverage. The jury is still out on Miles Killebrew after a disappointing sophomore season, so depending on head coach Matt Patricia’s feelings about Killebrew, Detroit could be in the market for a more rangier safety than Allen.
Round 4, Pick 117: LB Genard Avery (Memphis)
One of Bob Quinn’s first order of business this past offseason was adding a couple of linebackers that fit a much different profile than their predecessors Tahir Whitehead and Paul Worrilow. Devon Kennard—6-foot-3, 260 pounds—and Christian Jones—6-foot-4, 231 pounds—represent larger linebackers than the aforementioned Whitehead and Worrilow.
With these moves in mind, it’s going to be interesting to see where Jalen Reeves-Maybin fits into this defense moving forward, but a player like Genard Avery would be an awesome addition at this point in the draft. Avery is undersized, but extremely gifted athletically and built like a tank at 6-foot-1 and 255 pounds. He can line up all over on defense which makes him an attractive candidate for Patricia’s defense as he possesses the ability to be inside or outside at linebacker, or on the edge as a pass rusher.
Genard Avery is so versatile. Look at this bend/flexibility off of the edge. Off-ball linebacker with sub-package rush value. pic.twitter.com/LNCXcBlqxJ— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) March 6, 2018
For a team in need of applying pressure to opponents’ backfields, Avery would be a welcome addition. In his senior season, Avery earned first-team All-American Athletic Conference by posting some truly eye-popping numbers: 80 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.
Round 5, Pick 153: RB Josh Adams (Notre Dame)
The Detroit Lions have been without a reliable running game for the better part of almost two decades. Since the sudden retirement of Barry Sanders before the start of training camp in 1999, Detroit has seen its fair share of running backs come to town, all of them charged—unfairly so—with the impossible task of replacing Sanders.
JOSH ADAMS IS A MONSTER!!!! pic.twitter.com/6MAzExfPkV— Barstool Irish (@BarstoolIrish) September 30, 2017
Josh Adams isn’t that player—if that player even exists—but he’s certainly an intriguing prospect for the Lions this year and into the future for a couple of reasons. Adams, 6-foot-2 and 213 pounds, is the very definition of a downhill runner. And while the Lions have that for the 2018 season in LeGarrette Blount, he’s only here in Detroit under a one-year contract. Adams isn’t an elusive back, and he doesn’t possess the type of short-area burst to make many defenders miss, but his vision and decisiveness at the line of scrimmage puts him in position to gain positive yards, even after contact—Adams averaged 5.6 rushing yards after contact per carry, tops in the nation in 2017 .
Round 7, Pick 237: WR Richie James (University of Middle Tennessee State)
Golden Tate is on the verge of getting buku bucks after seeing the kind of deal Jarvis Landry received from the Cleveland Browns last month, and replacing the production of Tate will be a difficult task to accomplish.
Richie James, the 5-foot-10, 183 pound receiver from Middle Tennessee State, would be a worthwhile selection at the end of the draft for Detroit as they prepare themselves for a potentially Tate-less future. A slot receiver with quickness and solid route running, James is the ideal receiver to play in the slot should he manage to fend off the injuries that plagued him his last season at Middle Tennessee State.