One of the biggest shift in public sentiment regarding the 2013 NFL Draft over the past week has been the rise of offensive tackles Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson.
Fisher had been considered one of the top targets for the Lions with the fifth overall pick but the latest reports (carrying the smokescreen caveat) indicate he may be drafted before the Lions get on the clock. That has led to an increase in Lane Johnson’s name being attached to the Lions pick in some recent mock drafts. But is it warranted? From what NFL.com’s Albert Breer is hearing, the answer might be no:
I’ve talked to a number of teams that are baffled by the rise of Lane Johnson. One college director termed him “not ready for primetime”.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 23, 2013
While I have been a proponent of the Lions selecting Fisher, I do not like the idea of the Lions getting tunnel vision in regards to taking an offensive tackle. My basis is that Riley Reiff remains an option at left tackle and unless the Lions can draft a player who represents a sure improvement over Reiff, they should look elsewhere, preferably at a defensive end.
Reiff’s versatility means the Lions have the luxury of selecting an elite left tackle if one is available but don’t have to feel pressured to take one. If the Lions feel Johnson is an instant upgrade over Reiff, make the pick. If there are doubts whether he is an upgrade, make another pick.