4th round – Surprise! Barring a trade, the Lions will once again be without a fourth-round pick in 2013
Going back to the 2004 NFL draft the Lions ended up selecting a player in the fourth round only 40 percent of the time. Considering the fact that the NFL is designed for teams to truly build the foundations of their team through shrewd and intelligent selections in the middle rounds, perhaps it’s time Mayhew begins attaching higher values to mid-round draft picks.
5th round – Ray Graham, RB, Pittsburgh
The fifth and sixth rounds are where the scouting departments earn their stripes. It’s also where due diligence and tantalizing upside occasionally come together in perfect harmony, such as the Washington Redskins 2012 sixth-round pick of FAU running back Alfred Morris. The overlooked Pensacola, Florida native provided the type of return General Managers dream of securing in the early parts of the first round as he rushed for over 1,600 yards (4.8 ypc) while scoring 13 touchdowns.
While the jury is obviously still out on one of the Lions 2012 fifth-round picks, Albion College cornerback Chris Greenwood, the potential he brings based on pure athleticism is the type of choice Mayhew and his staff need to continue to make.
With Jahvid Best’s football playing days seemingly behind him, the Lions suddenly have a need for a change of pace, dynamic runner able to go the distance, or at least carve up defenses for 20 and 40-yard gains. Mikhel Leshoure and Joique Bell are basically similar, north-south, between the tackles runners.
Had he not suffered a torn ACL deep into the 2011 season, its plausible Ray Graham would find himself right up there with Giovanni Bernard and Eddie Lacy in the first two rounds. His running style is smooth with joystick-caliber shiftiness. His smaller stature, a shade over 5’8”, works to his benefit as he parlays his excellent vision with an uncanny ability to dart in and out of lanes behind the busy cover of significantly larger lineman battling in the trenches. Linebackers are often caught flat-footed by the time they locate him and one or two jukes in the secondary and he’s gone.
6th round – Jahleel Addae, SS, Central Michigan
Older brother, Jahmile, was a four-year starter for the West Virginia Mountaineers and eventual assistant on former coach Rich Rodriguez’ staff in Morgantown. Jahleel was on his way there until Rodriguez, and Jahmile, left for Ann Arbor.
Multiple All-MAC honors and the Chippewa’s captain is a talented, hard-nosed defensive back whose game resembles current Lions safety Louis Delmas, beyond just the MAC school connection and long dreads. Addae can boost his stock at Senior Bowl and with Jim Schwartz and his staff accepting the invitation to coach in the game; they will get an extra close look at this high-potential, high-character prospect.
7th round – Quinn Sharp, P, Oklahoma State
Admittedly, I had no idea who the hell Quinn Sharp was. Outside of Michigan State, I probably couldn’t name another college punter. This prediction is based more on replacing a very average NFL punter in Nick Harris, along with his $925,000 salary, with a younger, cheaper option to upgrade not only the position, but in an offseason with limited cap space, perhaps even more importantly, greater flexibility in free agency.