Note: The following is a guest post submitted by SideLion Report reader Eric Ford. Please click here if you would like to have an article considered for publishing.
The 2011 Scouting Combine is in full swing. Not only has it become a very important process for all teams to scout the players, it has also become a way for the hard core fans to stay involved and learn more about potential players that everyone will be hoping that the Lions will draft in late April.
Using all the resources available to me and going with my gut feelings on certain positions, I will make my early guess to who the Lions will draft with the # 13 pick in the first round.
The most popular belief is that the Lions will focus on primarily 3 positions with the #13 pick in the first round of this year’s draft, which will be held on April 28-30 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
When looking at various mock drafts, related articles and chat rooms, the 3 positions that almost everyone is talking about is an offensive tackle, cornerback, and a linebacker. Let’s break down the 3 positions and try to narrow down who in my mind the Lions will have available to draft in the first round.
There are no “can’t miss” LT prospects in this year’s draft, such as a Joe Thomas was when he was picked 3rd overall in the 1st round of the 2007 draft. But there are some very good prospects that would have great value at the #13 pick for the Lions.
Nate Solder – LT Colorado – 6’8” 319 lbs. Huge size and wingspan, this guy is a beast. But can the guy play? He struggled against the elite defensive ends in college, which to me throws a red flag because all of the defensive ends in the NFL are better than college players. Also at the combine Solder only made 21 reps in the 225 pound bench press test. This shows his lack of strength in the upper body and is well below the average of the other tackle prospects. Also has only played tackle for 3 years.
Tyron Smith – LT USC – 6’5” 307 lbs. Huge hands and arms, among the largest over the last decade of prospects. Did well against the elite defensive ends, but the biggest knock was he played right tackle and has very little experience at all at the left tackle position. I believe that this is a big risk to hope that he has what it takes to change over to the left side. Bench pressed well with 29 reps at 225 lbs. Strong and very well built, but do you really take the risk of him being able to play the left side with the # 13 overall pick??
Gabe Carimi – LT Wisconsin – 6’7” 315 lbs. Outland Trophy winner for top Lineman in college football this past season. Made 49 career starts at the left tackle position over his 4 year career, taking over for former Wisconsin NFL All Pro Joe Thomas. Played very well against elite competition but lacks the footwork some scouts believe to remain at left tackle in the NFL. Very strong against the run but with quickness and footwork issues in pass protection, I just can’t see Gabe being a high pick at # 13.