With just hours until the start of the 2014 NFL Draft, the SideLion Report staff checks in with what they think the Detroit Lions will do in round one.
Darin Ackerman – I refuse to believe the Lions, who have already invested considerable resources in the wide receiver position and own a roster far from one player away of being a super bowl contender, are foolish enough to trade away precious draft picks to move up and grab a wide receiver. Now that I’ve virtually guaranteed it will happen, I’m sticking by my scouting reports.
If Mayhew truly abides by the “best player available philosophy,” the highest graded player on my board when the Lions are on the clock is Anthony Barr. It may not be the most popular pick with the fan base, but the Lions need to build to win through the division and Rodgers and Cutler will continue to thrive without a consistently disruptive pass rushing attack. Barr has proven he can wreak havoc in the backfield and has Pro Bowl caliber upside. Here’s to hoping the Lions throw the popularity contest out the window and make the right choice.
Braden Shackelford – I think Sammy Watkins is the choice through trade with the Rams or Jaguars. To me, there isn’t a player in the first round that could rival the impact that Watkins would have on the Lions offense. I know that all the “analysts” want to see Detroit address its weakest unit, the secondary, but how much of a difference would a rookie corner or safety make compared to the current secondary already on the roster? Adding Watkins is the right move and it could be a move that propels the Lions into a deep playoff run, especially with all the time and work that’s taking place with Matthew Stafford and the new coaching staff.
Max DeMara – The usually tight-lipped Martin Mayhew rarely says much during draft season, so this year, his praise of Sammy Watkins has been uniquely telling. It seems as if Mayhew is in love, and given rumors of trading up have begun to surface, it’s not hard to connect the dots. Detroit makes the move everyone thinks is a smokescreen official, moving into the top three to nab Watkins. In the process, they finally solve the problem of a major running mate for Calvin Johnson once and for all.