It didn’t take long after the close of the 2011 draft for 2012 mock drafts to start popping up. In fact, I was able to quickly pull 14 mock drafts that were published in the first week of May so I wrote a post for the simple purpose of documenting the very early opinions – it was my Detroit Lions 2012 NFL Draft time capsule. I thought it would be interesting to revisit it as we got closer to draft time. Well, it’s time!
None of the 14 mock drafts I put in my “time capsule” had the Lions picking 23rd. A mock draft from Real Sports Hype came the closest at 22. NE Patriots Draft missed the mark the most by predicting the Lions would pick 11th. All told, the average pick for the Lions was around number 16.
A total of 11 players were picked for the Lions in the 14 mocks. South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore was the pick in three mocks while Manti Te’o, who decided to return to Notre Dame for his senior season, was the only other player mentioned in more than one (twice).
As it turns out, Gilmore is a realistic choice given the way the draft process has played out. Mike Adams and Jonathan Martin also appeared as Lions picks in the early mock drafts and have also been popular picks in more recent mocks. Alfonzo Dennard appeared once and was a popular pick for the Lions among mockers when the NFL season ended but has fallen out of favor since then.
NE Patriots Draft may have missed the mark with the prediction of the Lions picking 11th but the choice of Riley Reiff is realistic for that point in the first round.
Vontaze Burfict and Cliff Harris are two players picked for the Lions in the first round in the set of early mocks I plucked that may not get drafted. Travis Lewis, Nate Potter and Chase Minnifield will be drafted but sometime after the first round.