Oct 27, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels tight end Eric Ebron (85) with the ball as North Carolina State Wolfpack safety Earl Wolff (27) and safety Brandan Bishop (30) defend in the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels defeated the Wolfpack 43-35 at Kenan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
ESPN NFL Draft gurus Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay released new mock drafts today and what transpired with the Detroit Lions picks is quite interesting.
The two mocks have the same nine players going ahead of the Lions pick, with Kiper and McShay just flip-flopping Taylor Lewan and Jake Matthews in picks six (Atlanta Falcons) and nine (Buffalo Bills). That means both men faced the exact same situation to consider when making the Lions pick.
Both went with pass catchers, although they differed on the exact player.
Kiper went with LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., offering the following commentary:
"Last year, the Lions had the option of taking the top-rated cornerback in the draft, but passed on Dee Milliner. It’s worked out so far, even though corner is a big need. This year, they could again have the option of taking a cornerback rated as the best one available … but, again, they could pass. If their board looks at all like mine, I think both corner and safety (both needs) could be a slight reach here and (A) they really do need another receiver, and (B) Beckham could develop into a star here, even with Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate around. He’s explosive with the ball in his hands, but you don’t have to simply force easy catches, because he’s a very good route-runner and will create space."
McShay seems to like Beckham just fine – he has him going just two picks later to the New York Giants – but he had the Lions choosing North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron. McShay explains:
"Cornerback and safety are the biggest needs for the Lions, but I have Ebron rated higher than any of the defensive backs, and the majority of teams I’ve talked to have said the same. Joseph Fauria looked good at tight end last season, but Ebron is a major upgrade, and, in reality, he’d just become another receiver in their offense in most formations. Also worth noting: Detroit has selected zero defensive backs in the first round in the past 15 drafts. More importantly, the Lions have used a lot of high picks on defenders recently (three of past four first-round picks have been D-linemen), so they can afford to go with an offensive playmaker here and address the secondary on Day 2."
Neither pick is particularly revolutionary as wide receivers and Eric Ebron have shown up as the Lions pick in a number of mock drafts. The tenth pick might be higher than some are used to seeing for Beckham but he has recently been talked about as a player who very well may be picked higher than expected.
What do you think? Would you be happy with either one of these players or is it a mistake to pass on the top corner or safety prospect?