Despite picking at the end of the top ten, the Detroit Lions have done their homework on the 2014 NFL Draft’s top prospects – many of whom are likely to be unavailable with the tenth overall pick.
While a lot of discussion has centered around the Lions trading up, particularly for wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the latest top prospect to visit the Lions put it nicely. Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack is widely expected to be drafted before the Lions get on the clock but had this to say when asked about his visit to the Lions:
“You never know what can happen,” Mack said. “I feel like nothing is promised when it comes to the draft.”
Of course, a Lions trade up the board certainly fits under the “you never know” label but so does the way the picks actually come off the board. Lions fans got a glimpse of that in 2011.
Nick Fairley was considered a contender to be drafted first overall and was thought of as a top five pick as the 2011 draft approached. Despite that, the Lions, holding a pick outside the top ten, brought in Fairley for a pre-draft visit.
How unexpected was the Lions’ selection of Fairley? I compiled a list of Lions’ picks from 125 mock drafts published just before the 2011 draft. The number that had Fairley as the Lions’ pick: 0.
The fact the Lions drafted Ndamukong Suh in the first round the year before made the pick all the more surprising but the fact remains, Fairley’s availability was unexpected.
As Mack said, you never know what can happen.