The NFL draft is a exactly one month away. Get worried now.
Yes, there’s plenty to like about this offseason for the Lions. They signed safety Glover Quin and their new change-of-pace running back in former college cheater Reggie Bush. Two needs filled.
And yes, there’s plenty to be worried about this offseason. Cliff Avril and Gosder Cherilus went elsewhere in free agency, Jeff Backus retired. Kyle Vanden Bosch was cut.
Through it all, the Lions still need a cornerback. Re-signing Chris Houston locked in a serviceable corner for another year, but the other side is littered with the remains Jonte Green, Bill Bentley, Chris Greenwood and someone named Pat Lee. I’ll continue to plead for the Lions to draft high-end cornerback until they either A.) Draft one or B.) Prove they stop a skinny post.
However, there’s one only one corner worthy of being selected at No. 5 overall: Dee Milliner, and he could go before the Lions have an opportunity t0 select him.
Conventional wisdom for the Lions seems pretty simple: Draft Milliner. If Milliner’s gone, draft an offensive linemen to pair with Riley Reiff. There are two ranked in the top 5 on ESPN’s Big Board, Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher.
If all three of those players are taken with in the first four picks, then you go to Plan C: take who ever the hell you want. So why do nine out of 13 of the most reputable (well, a couple were so not reputable) Mock Drafts I could find have the Lions drafting BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah and in most cases passing on one or more of the listed players above?
(Of the other four Mock Drafts, three have Fisher going to the Lions, one has Milliner.)
Ansah has an interesting story. He didn’t start playing football until his sophomore year of college. Because of his limited experience, he’s generally regarding as having the highest upside in the draft. (That also means he’s got the highest bust capability in the draft.) The general notion reasoning is that the cupboard is now bare for the Lions at defensive end. Yet, Jim Schwartz says Jason Jones is taking Cliff Avril’s spot and if the Lions thought Vanden Bosch was better than Willie Young, they would have kept him. By the way, the Lions also have two pretty good defensive tackles inside that can make up for some of the weaknesses on the end.
Yet, ESPN’s Todd McShay and Mel Kiper both have Ansah going to the Lions. As does the National Football Post, Roto World (affiliate of NBC Sports), Draft Countdown (the least reputable of the mock’s I looked at), CBS Sports’ Will Brinson and three out of four NFL.com analysts.
In theory, these mock draft experts have connections inside the organization. In theory, these people aren’t completely making random guesses but are using some of the tidbits they know to give educated guesses.
If this theory is true, the Lions seemed to have fallen in love with Ansah while coaching him at the Senior Bowl. If this theory is true, Mayhew and Schwartz are going use the ‘best player available on our board’ defense, even though it would be the ‘he has a chance to be the best player on our board’ defense. If this theory is true you’ll spend another season yelling at cornerbacks you never knew existed before the season.
In theory, I hope my theories are wrong.