Well here we go… It’s the offseason in the NFL and it’s time for Lions fans to get ready for their Super Bowl, the NFL Draft.
Detroit has needs, less needs than last year but still needs. The Lions need cornerback help and cornerback help and probably cornerback help. Towards the end of the year Detroit fans saw S Don Carey playing corner at times and frankly if Carey is anything more than a special teams player your depth is hurting. Mayhew has tried and tried to find corner help, drafting them every year over the last three drafts but they just haven’t worked out. Even bringing in Eric Wright and RaSean Mathis as a veteran presence didn’t work.
But despite how much help they need at corner, the Lions also have other needs in other areas.
The Lions also faced a challenge this year with losing Burleson and Broyles and never having a 2nd threat at WR. This needs to be addressed and you can bet in a draft with 11 WR’s ranked in CBS Sports’ top 60 the Lions will take a WR in the first 2 rounds.
Detroit also will look for another DE, a center, linebacker help and possibly a developmental QB as Shaun Hill will likely move along.
First Round – Sammy Watkins (WR, Clemson)
With the 10th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft the Detroit Lions select, Sammy Watkins ,WR Clemson.
The Lions need a WR and with depth at the position it will push teams to wait in a deep draft allowing Detroit to jump on what would usually be a top 5 pick. Watkins has speed and shown the ability to catch the ball and go. He can turn slants and underneath a route up field. He draws comparisons to Percy Harvin and the Lions crave a receiver that can make his own space and get open.
Second Round – Jason Verret (CB, TCU)
Verret is a magnet to the football. He has good speed and is a ball hawk which by the way when was the last time the Lions had a ball hawk? He also has a track record of lining up against good competition and shutting them down.
Third Round – DeMarcus Lawrence (DE/OLB, Boise State)
Lawrence is one of those caught in the middle guys. He lacks the bulk of a down lineman but doesn’t have the speed you want on at OLB. Still there is little doubt he can find his way into a backfield. It also remains to be seen with the new Detroit coaching staff as to what they’ll do on defense. With Washburn likely staying with Detroit and Willie Young likely playing his last game for the Lions this is a good pick here. He might take a year or two to make some impact, but he should be a decent pass rusher and immediately(with a good camp) should find his way into a rotation.
Fourth Round – Tyler Larsen (C, Utah State)
The Lions will look for a future Center in the draft and they will not want to do it earlier than this pick. Raiola is a free agent and took a pay cut last year to stay. Even if Detroit decides to retain Raiola the 35-year-old is on borrowed time.
Fifth Round – No Pick
Sixth Round – Stanley Jean-Baptiste (CB, Nebraska)
Jean Baptiste is a big cornerback and is about 15 pounds shy of being a speedy Linebacker checking in at 6’2 220 lbs. He is at his best jamming receivers and playing press according to reports. If he has a down side it’s he’s a little soft when tackling a ball carrier. Admittedly this is my sleeper pick. He is rated a little higher than where Detroit will be picking and they don’t have a 5th rou7nd pick. SJB is more thought of as going in the late 4th to the mid 5th, not the early 6th. But every mock needs a reach and every draft has players fall.
Seventh Round – Chandler Catanzaro (K, Clemson)
He was 13-14 on the season and shows an NFL caliber leg being able to connect from 50+ yards. He doesn’t have the biggest leg in the draft but he shows to be the most consistent. He also has clutch kicks on his resume in big games as well.