Everyone is sharing their take on what the Detroit Lions will do with their first-round pick in the draft, but what are the realistic expectations?
With the eighth pick in the NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select … Will it be a new starting cornerback? Will it be an offensive or defensive lineman, a pick more fitting of Lions’ general manager Bob Quinn? Will it be the infamous pick of a tight end?
In less than two weeks, we’ll know the answer. But let’s look at the realistic options that will be on the board when Detroit’s number is called in the first round. Many mock drafts are flying around the interwebs this month and there seems to be some consistency with the expectations in the top 10 picks. Even if nobody knows for sure what will happen, there are a few picks that won’t surprise anyone.
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray going first overall to the Arizona Cardinals seems like all anyone can predict right now. If Murray’s off the board early, nobody will bat an eye. The significance of Murray being selected first isn’t lost on Lions fans. It leaves more potential stars on the board when it’s their turn to pick.
Next, there’s a wave of top defensive talent. Defensive ends Nick Bosa and Josh Allen are likely to be selected before the Lions are on the clock, as well as defensive linemen Quinnen Williams and Ed Oliver. If any of these four players are still available with the 8th pick, it’s a best-case scenario for the Motor City.
Another player that will most likely be selected in the top 7 picks is offensive tackle Jonah Williams. While the Lions would be happy with any of the previously listed defensive players, there’s no guarantee they’d be interested in Williams for their offensive line – even if they could use the help at guard. And we’re not going to see Quinn grab a quarterback that early.
That leaves a plethora of options at 8th overall including defensive ends Brain Burns, Montez Sweat and Rashan Gary. Linebacker Devin White could still be on the board. Cornerback Greedy Williams, mocked to the Lions by NFL.com’s Chase Winovich, and tight end T.J. Hockenson, mocked to the Lions by ESPN’s Todd McShay, are other options that might be considered a bit of a reach. It all comes down to the Lions rankings and who they like better.
If they can trade down, they will likely have their sights set on Greedy, Hockenson or a less-mocked player while gaining some extra draft capital. Part of the problem with selecting either of these players or a wide receiver this early is that there isn’t much consensus among teams on where these players should be drafted. Some feel Greedy should be a top 15 player while others have him with a second-round grade. And others feel tight end Noah Fant should be selected before Hockenson.
Teams aren’t usually willing to throw away value in the draft unless they are truly enamored with the player that they throw the value chart out the window. This is also why players like wide receiver N’Keal Harry could be selected early in the first round or he could still be on the board when the Lions are ready to make their second-round pick. This is also why it’s great to watch the draft itself – to see the unknown unfold before your eyes.
Now, if the Lions have their heart set on Burns, Sweat, Gary or White, they’ll pull the trigger and make them the newest player to wear Honolulu blue. And Quinn’s comments about being very open to trading down will have been a huge part of the smoke screen to help him land his guy.
Either way, these are the most realistic expectations for the Detroit Lions draft as of today. And we won’t find out the answers for another week and a half. The draft can arrive soon enough.