There’s roughly four months before the NFL draft, but with the Detroit Lions out of playoff contention many fans have already begun scavenging the internet for mock draft sites to see who their beloved Lions will take in the first round.
While I don’t have that answer, I do have a list of candidates that the Lions could take as the roster stands now. The most immediate need for the current roster has to be wide receiver and the 2014 draft class is filled with exceptional wide receivers, especially in the first two rounds.
Sammy Watkins, Clemson
Just about every Detroit Lions fan I’ve heard from favors Watkins (myself included) for the Lions first round pick. Regardless of how good a fit Watkins would be with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, it’s likely a long shot.
Watkins’ performance in the Orange Bowl, 16 catches, 227 yards, and two touchdowns, ensured his status as the drafts best wide receiver, which may warrant a top five selection. Barring a disappointment combine performance, Watkins likely played his way right past Detroit’s reach unless they decide to move up in the draft, which may be difficult with so many teams needing quarterbacks.
Watch Out For: The Rams (2nd), Raiders (5) and Buccaneers (7), who could all draft a wide receiver. If all three pass on a wide receiver there’s a good chance the Lions get Watkins, should they choose to go that route.
Mike Evans, Texas A&M
A Mike Evans/Calvin Johnson duo would be eerily similar to the Bears tandem of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, only maybe even more dynamic. As it stands now there’s nothing not to like about Evans, but a poor 40 time would likely eliminate Evans from contention for the Lions with the 10th overall pick.
Watch Out For: Before seeing Evans run the 40 I don’t think there is a team that will consider him in the taking him in the top 10. If Detroit wants Evans, he’s likely there for the taking.
Marqise Lee, USC
Lee doesn’t posses Watkins’ speed or Evans’ size, but he might be the most polished receiver of the three listed. While not as elusive or quick as Watkins, Lee is still pretty darn quick and posses great field vision. The questions I have with Lee are his durability and potential. Questions about durability alone would keep me from drafting Lee in the top 20.
However, if the Lions were to trade down that far, I think he’s a heck of a football player with a great feel for the game.
Watch Out For: Taking Lee in the top 10 probably isn’t a good move because it’s a move with more risk then I’d like for a top ten pick, but it could happen. The Lions would need to either take Lee at 10 if they really liked him or only move back a few spots (if there are suitors) , because the Rams (13th) and Ravens (16th) would probably love to add more talent around their respective quarterbacks.