I recently had a chance to ask Jesse Bartolis of NFL Mocks a few Detroit Lions related draft questions.
Zac Snyder: The Lions love acquiring talent through a best player available approach. Who is a highly rated player that the Lions could have an unexpected shot at in the first round?
Jesse Bartolis: Lions Fans might not want to hear this name, but I”m going to say Kendall Wright the WR out of Baylor. Wright is well publicized and during the college football season there were reports out that Wright was higher than Blackmon on some boards. Wright plays very fast and is solid (about 200 pounds), but is under 6′ tall. You can count on your hand the number of top 15 WR drafted in the first round under 6′ probably since I’ve been alive.
I think the other big name and highly regarded player that could potentially be available is cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick has unique size, speed, and length for the CB position. Questions are arising about his ability to play with loose hips and people wonder if he’s better suited as a Safety. He could be available.
Lastly Michael Brockers is a big name, but not a top 20 player on my own personal big board. I could see him being available.
ZS: How would you assess the overall depth of this draft class at cornerback and offensive line?
JB: I would say that as far as the LT position goes the depth isn’t great. There are a lot of candidates who can play RT and I like that depth a bit more. Now as far as interior offensive linemen go, this is one of the best guard classes in awhile. There is a few guys who are terrific Amini Sialtalou from Midwestern State is rated higher than DeCastro on some scouts big boards–and this is something I’ve been catching wind of before smoke-screen season. Wisconsin G Kevin Zeitler likewise has some first round ability, but positional value likely means two of the three guards are available in the second round. Brandon Brooks Miami Ohio is a guy I like too. Two intriguing late round guys (6th or 7th round) I like is Rokevious Watkins and Derek Dennis of Temple.
ZS: It is likely that the Lions eventually add a third-string quarterback to the roster. Assuming that comes through the draft in the late rounds (perhaps one of their seventh round picks), who are some players the Lions should look at?
JB: 5th round Quarterback Tennessee Chatanooga QB B.J. Coleman is most often compared to…you didn’t guess it…Peyton Manning! That’s high praise for a day three prospect. Obviously Peyton was more talented, but it just feels like you’re watching him play in his mannerisms and the way he throws the football. Scouts like him as a developmental guy.
If you’re looking for a guy with loads of physical tools, but needs a lot of work you’re thinking of Jordan Jefferson out of LSU.
A mobile running quarterback with decent NFL arm strength, a guy I like, is Chandler Harnish out of Northern Illinois.
Albany QB Dan Di Lella is a name to watch.
ZS: Lions fans always love talking about trading down in the draft, do you see a scenario where they would have that opportunity?
JB: This is one of the most peculiar things to me in the world–how much fans for Every team love the idea of trading down in the draft. The truth is though that teams only have 53 rosters spots if you trade down every year you’re not likely to have most of those picks on your roster. I’d trade down maybe once every few years, but most of the time if you draft well you’re just better sitting where you are.
With that being said there are always teams looking to move up depending on who’s the board–maybe not always at the value the Lions will want. But a player falling like David DeCastro/Dre Kirkpatrick, or if Tannehill is somehow available there will be opportunities to trade down.
If anything, the Lions seem to have taken an opposite approach and will move UP for players they like. Not down. I’d expect them to stay where they are.
ZS: You get the final word, any bold predictions for what the Lions will do in the 2012 draft?
JB: Based on my own big board, the best values that are likely to be available with their first pick are DT, RB and WR. Three positions they don’t necessarily need. If their board is anyway similar to mine they could be taking a position of strength in the first round.