5 Best Case Scenarios For Lions in First Round

Sep 3, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker T.J. Watt (42) tackles LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) during the Lambeau Field College Classic at Lambeau Field. Wisconsin won 16-14. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker T.J. Watt (42) tackles LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) during the Lambeau Field College Classic at Lambeau Field. Wisconsin won 16-14. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Lions are just a few weeks away from the 2017 NFL Draft and the recent first-round projections have provided some clarity into what looks like a fairly unpredictable draft — outside of the likely first-overall-pick, Myles Garrett. So keeping that in mind, here’s a list of five players that have varying chances of lasting until the Lions’ 21st  pick, but are prospects the Lions should have their eye on regardless. After all, you never really know what’s going to happen (think last year’s sudden leak of Dolphin lineman, Laremy Tunsil’s gas mask bong video on draft night).

1). Leonard Fournette

Leonard Fournette (7) Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
Leonard Fournette (7) Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports /

Fournette is mostly a fantasy scenario for the Lions if they don’t move up a few spots at least. However, as I laid out the other day in my article about the running back class, it’s not crazy to think a couple big names rushers could fall. Recent reports have indicated McCaffrey is higher on teams’ big boards than previously believed. Fournette is the one running back that I think the Lions should be interested in drafting in the first. Detroit has Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner coming back healthy, making it slightly less of a positional need. With that said, you don’t pass up a chance for a potential Adrian Peterson when you’re as close as the Lions appear to be to NFL contention.

2). Haason Reddick

Mock Draft
Haason Reddick (58) – Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

Reddick has become the fan-favorite in Detroit after an impressive showing at the NFL scouting combine. Without DeAndre Levy, the team needs to upgrade their linebacking core in the worst way. Scouts are in love with his versatility and ability to fit in multiple schemes. He’s quick and productive, but the catch on Reddick is that he played at Temple, against inferior competition. The real question is can this guy be the next Khalil Mack or will he be Aaron Curry (the former can’t miss prospect that missed badly for the Seahawks). Many are saying Reddick could go as high as eleventh to the New Orleans Saints. Should Reddick be there, you have to think Bob Quinn would quickly pull the trigger.

3). Derek Barnett

Derek Barnett
Tennessee Volunteers defensive end Derek Barnett (9) – Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports /

For awhile, it looked as if there would be no chance Derek Barnett was going to be available outside of the top ten, as he projected before the combine when he was consistently being mocked in the 15-25 range. The Lions have needed to upgrade a somewhat stale front four for a couple of years now. As noted in my draft prospect profile, Barnett was extremely productive for three straight years, finishing his last season with 13 sacks, 1 INT and 19 tackles for loss. He’s not a perfect prospect but is probably more of a sure thing than hometown Michigan favorite, Taco Charlton. Barnett is smaller than Charlton, but he plays with more intensity and consistency than Taco, which would make him a great addition for Detroit.

4). Gareon Conley

mock draft
Nov 26, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Gareon Conley (8) tackles Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Amara Darboh (82) during the third quarter at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports /

Gareon Conley is not the sexy pick fans are hoping for, but if for some reason the teams ahead of Detroit don’t draft all of the blue-chip secondary talent that is at the top of this year’s class, the Lions could score big. Darius Slay is a budding star as a number-one, future shut-down corner, but he needs some help other than D.J. Hayden. Yes, it’s true the Lions’ front seven hasn’t generated enough pressure for last season’s number-two starter, Nevin Lawson, to have a fair shot, being the undersized player that he is. Conley, however, has the size and speed scouts love in an outside corner. If Detroit goes with the Ohio State product, don’t be disappointed because this kid’s ceiling is extremely high. A perfect potential complement opposite Slay for years to come.

5). T.J. Watt

mock draft
Linebacker T.J. Watt (42). -. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

As reported in USA Today’s Lions Wire a few days ago, the Lions have some interest in T. J Watt, the talented linebacker out of Wisconsin, and he could be in play with Detroit’s first-round pick. Watt would seem to be a great fit, along with the fact that he is by far the most likely to be available of the aforementioned players on this list. Watt could add something to Detroit’s pass rush and also has the athleticism to start at an outside linebacker position for Detroit. If the Lions ends up with any of these guys, you should feel pretty good about the direction of this team under Bob Quinn, after an already stellar beginning to his second offseason.

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