The Detroit Lions may have signed Golden Tate in free agency, but that doesn’t mean the position is any less of a need heading into the draft. Mel Kiper Jr. released his third mock draft of this draft cycle today and he has the Lions selecting Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans with the tenth overall pick. Kiper explains.
After the Lions signed Golden Tate, the obvious reaction is to think they go another direction here. I’ll counter and say that the Lions didn’t just need one wide receiver, they needed two, and I’d also say that while Tate is a nice addition, he doesn’t do much to ease the worry of what this offense looks like when Calvin Johnson isn’t healthy. The Lions shouldn’t be done at this position, and I think Evans is too good to pass up here. Tate’s presence doesn’t mean this is no longer a need.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this pick isn’t that it is Evans, it is that this is a change from Kiper’s previous mocks. In his second mock, Kiper had the Lions selecting Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert, and the change in his third mock wasn’t because Gilbert wasn’t available at ten. Kiper now has Gilbert selected with the 15th pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kiper’s explanation of Evans as the pick is valid but feels odd because it would have been even more valid when he released his second mock. Of course, that second mock was released before the combine. Perhaps Kiper was swayed by Evans’ performance as much as some Lions fans who weren’t as familiar with Evans’ game before seeing him do on-field drills in Indianapolis.