The clock is officially ticking on the 2014 NFL Draft. Come today, we’re 11 days away from the start of the first round on Thursday, May 8.
A hot topic in recent weeks has been the plans of the Detroit Lions with the tenth overall pick. Will they attempt to trade up or stay put? If they do either of those things, what are the biggest team needs and best possible picks the team could make? Those aren’t questions easily answered without an expert.
For that reason, the help of Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com was enlisted. Cherepinsky runs one of the largest mock draft databases on the web, and even takes time to compile his own mock. As a result, he’s got his fingers on the pulse of the action for all 32 teams, including the Lions.
What does Cherepinsky think about the direction Detroit might go in the first round a few weeks from now? He took time to answer three important questions about the upcoming draft from a Lions perspective.
MD: In years past, it’s been easy to narrow down need for the Lions. This year, there seems to be a few different directions the team may go early. What do you see as the biggest team need in 2014?
WC: Even though the Lions added Golden Tate, I think their biggest need is a play-maker for Matthew Stafford, whether that’s a receiver or a tight end. Tate is just a No. 3 weapon, while Brandon Pettigrew hasn’t been reliable. Either Mike Evans or Eric Ebron would be great.
MD: Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen the Lions line up visits with several prospects expected to go within the top five such as Sammy Watkins, Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack. Do you think the team is angling for a move up, or could the visits be a giant smokescreen?
WC: I think it’s a smokescreen. I wouldn’t rule out a trade, and Detroit may move up to No. 5 because the Raiders are desperate to move down, but I think there’s more of a chance the Lions stay at 10.
MD: When all is said and done, who would be the best selection the Lions could make if they stayed at pick 10 on May 8?
WC: Evans would be ideal, but I don’t think he’s making it to 10. My ideal selection for the Lions – and I don’t think it’s going to happen – is Justin Gilbert. He would be the best player available and would give the Lions a tall, No. 1 corner to combat the massive receivers in the NFC North.