The 2016 NFL Draft is just one week away, and the Detroit Lions draft pick at No. 16 overall remains as closely guarded of a mystery as the recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Trained chefs have tried to recreate that tasty bit of deliciousness over the years, having strongly educated guesses on which herbs and spices concoct the coating on the chicken.
Figuring out the ingredients there is similar to what those of us who cover and follow the Lions are trying to do with the draft pick. One of the ways to do this is to eliminate the choices that clearly are not involved. Just as there is no ginger or oregano in the Colonel’s famous “11 herbs and spices”, it’s pretty easy to rule out several potential choices for Detroit.
Gone for Sure
The two quarterbacks will be the first two picks in the draft. Los Angeles and Philadelphia didn’t make the bold moves they did for any other position. For Lions purposes, it doesn’t really matter which order they come off the board.
Laremy Tunsil–the unfortunate victim of the QB thirst, the Ole Miss offensive tackle is no longer the No. 1 pick. But he won’t make it out of the top 5.
The top three defensive players will be long gone by the time Detroit picks…even if the Lions unexpectedly trade up as high as No. 8 overall.
Ezekiel Elliott–he’s regarded as special enough of a talent to overcome the bias against top 10 running backs.
Remote Chance of Availability
Paxton Lynch–the Memphis QB will be the No. 3 QB off the board. Most expect him to be taken somewhere between 7 and 14 overall. The Lions aren’t taking a QB so this is a good thing from Detroit’s perspective.
Sheldon Rankins–many Lions fans covet the penetrating Louisville DT. Don’t count on him being on the board, but it cannot be definitively ruled out.
Myles Jack–the only reason the freaky athletic UCLA defender would be available is because of his arthritic knee, which did not fare well in his recent medical recheck. One of the few tidbits I have been able to get from Lions sources is that they will not take the chance on his degenerative condition.
Darron Lee–one of the workout season’s biggest winners, most project the Ohio State linebacker in the 10-15 overall range. The Lions would have interest if he’s on the board even though one of Lee’s closest player comparisons is DeAndre Levy. If Jack is gone at No. 11, I fully expect the Chicago Bears to take Lee.
William Jackson–many fans will be surprised when the Houston cornerback is the first CB off the board. Don’t be one of them…
Unlikely but Possible
Jack Conklin–the Michigan State offensive lineman is a definite possibility at No. 16, but don’t count on him being there. You’re going to see Conklin projected to the Titans at No. 15 in numerous mock drafts, and that isn’t without reason.
Vernon Hargreaves–his star has fallen a bit, but the playmaking Florida CB is still widely regarded as a top 15 pick. I do not believe the Lions have interest if VH3 remains at No. 16.
Shaq Lawson–he’s the top remaining pass rusher by a wide margin, and that should put him firmly out of Detroit’s reach. Should.
With the First Pick
May or May Not Be There
Ronnie Stanley–concerns about his ability to handle power and get any better than he already is have dogged the Notre Dame offensive tackle. It says here that if Ronnie Stanley is on the board at No. 16, he will be the Lions pick and it doesn’t matter who else from the two prior sections would be available either.
Jarran Reed–the two Alabama defensive tackles are definitely in play for Detroit. I suspect one of them will still be on the board. Most of the draft media–myself included–prefers Reed, but I have a feeling the NFL favors Robinson. We’ll see.
Taylor Decker–many pundits have the Lions pick as the first real possible landing spot for the Ohio State offensive tackle. He’s definitely in play if that’s true.
These two project as the first two wideouts off the board. Where either goes is one of next Thursday’s great mysteries. I really doubt the Lions go after either guy, though stranger things have happened. Among those stranger things: the Lions taking Mike Williams where they did.
Reggie Ragland–the apple of my early draft eye, I doubt any team bites on Ragland before Detroit picks. I also doubt the Lions covet the Alabama linebacker that highly, but it cannot be ruled out.
Eli Apple–some mocks have the Ohio State corner gone, others have him on the board in the 20s. Another player I doubt the Lions have serious interest in selecting.
Ryan Kelly–the unanimous top center, he’d be a real reach above 16. He looks like a reach at 16 too, though his name cannot be ruled out. I suspect if the Lions really want the Alabama pivot, they would try and trade back from 16th and get an extra pick.
Kevin Dodd–Lawson’s Clemson bookend, he’s another great draft slot mystery. I could see him going 12th but just as easily going in the second round. Is he in play for Detroit?