Before I get started, I would like to do a little advertising for the Detroit Chapter of SABR’s Symposium Weekend that is happening this Saturday and Sunday. Details are here. The weekend includes a tour of Detroit’s historical baseball scene and a brunch featuring Willie Horton and Gates Brown.
Two years ago, I did a mock draft. Last year, I covered all of the “acceptable” scenarios. This year, I’m just going to throw out my wishlist keeping in mind that the Lions don’t have much say at pick #15. I also promise not to make any wide receiver jokes (unless this sentence counts as one) because I can’t handle another joke of that nature even if I’m the one making it. ESPN apparently hasn’t reached its limit yet.
First, let me say that this isn't a prediction-list. According to Tom Kowalski Rod Marinelli has already decided he is going defense with the first pick. In fact, he goes on to say that it will either be Derrick Harvey or Jerod Mayo. Mayo is guaranteed to be available at #15 so apparently it will be one or the other and nobody else. However, that won't stop me from wishing on a different outcome.
I’ll first rule out the positions that the Lions shouldn’t be looking at with their first pick. With Brian Kelly and Leigh Bodden in the fold, I think it’s safe to say the Lions need not look at cornerback in round one. Wide receiver is obviously out. QB is likely out with Matt Ryan gone (count me in the camp who doesn’t want Ryan anyway) and the rest of the QB’s not #15-worthy. Tight end is clearly out. That leaves the offensive and defensive lines, running back, and linebacker. I would prefer the Lions not take a running back. Rashard Mendenhall might end up being good but good running backs can come from all sorts of rounds and avenues. Mendenhall reminds me an awful lot of Kevin Jones and he didn’t amount to much even when he was healthy. The Lions need to finally address the foundation after years and years and years and…you get the idea…of neglect.
Defensive line would be nice but the Lions had one of the top defensive tackles (when he was able to breath) in the NFL for the last few years and that didn’t help much. So, I’m down with an offensive lineman. Kitna gets sacked a gazillion times per game and that needs to stop. Marinelli wants to run the ball and that won’t happen with the current cast of characters on the line. The team’s most pressing need since I’ve been alive—this includes pre-Barry, Barry, and post-Barry—has been the offensive line. That is my preferred position of choice for pick #15. After that, I’d go linebacker and then defensive end in that order. The top three tackles in the draft could be gone by pick #15 which means the Lions should strongly consider trading down especially since Marinelli has all but admitted that taking Jerod Mayo at #15 might be a reach. So, considering my preferences, here is my wish-list for pick #15…
1). Chris Williams OT Vanderbilt
2). Ryan Clady OT Boise St.
3). Jeff Otah OT Pittsburgh
4). Jerod Mayo MLB Tennessee (trade down)
5). Keith Rivers OLB USC