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The NFL Draft is a little over a week away, and mock draft season is nearing its close. I began early, publishing my first mock back in January. Matters have changed since then, and my final 2019 Detroit Lions mock draft reflects as such.
With the 8th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select Ed Oliver, defensive lineman, Houston
Other possibilities: Devin White, LB, LSU; Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan; T.J Hockenson, TE, Iowa; Montez Sweat, DL, Mississippi State; A trade down
Ed Oliver was in the conversation as the top pick in the draft early on. However, a senior year that left a bit to be desired dropped him a bit. Oliver is an incredible athlete who plays mostly on the interior. He has rare speed for an interior lineman and has a knack for being able to take over games. Oliver is undersized and struggles downhill on the pass rush. With Damon Harrison on the field beside him, however, this is an area he should improve in.
As for the other possibilities, the reason I did not mock Devin White here is because I don’t think he’ll be there at #8. If he is, I would make that pick over Oliver. In this instance, Oliver is a great selection, but linebacker is currently Detroit’s biggest need after free agency. Montez Sweat will be there at #8, but Oliver has more potential. In the same sense, Rashan Gary fits that argument. While T.J. Hockenson is a real possibility at #8, it gives flashbacks to Eric Ebron’s tenure.
For those wondering, the Detroit Lions will not draft Matt Stafford’s heir this high this year.
With the 43rd overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select Justin Layne, cornerback, Michigan State
Other possibilities: D’Andre Walker, LB, Georgia; Germaine Pratt, LB, NC State; Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
The Lions have a need for depth among their cornerbacks. They did sign corners in Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin, so they won’t need Layne to start right away. Layne led the Big Ten in passes defended and pass breakups last year to go along with his 72 tackles and one pick. He is a press coverage corner who can win with his aggressiveness. His fluid footwork allows him often allows for him to jump routes early and get in front of the play. Layne lacks the speed to keep up with true speed receivers and gets grabby downfield, especially in the redzone. However, he could be a quality addition to the Lion secondary.
For the other possibilities, these three would be reach picks at #43. If Detroit doesn’t trade out of #8, then they’d likely move out of #43. I previously mocked Germaine Pratt here, but I don’t feel too confident in picking him this high now. All three should be second round picks.
With the 88th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select Kaden Smith, tight end, Stanford
Other Possibilities: Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia; J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford; Trysten Hill, DT, Central Florida
The Lions need a backup tight end, and may snatch Kaden Smith up in the third round. Smith has NFL athleticism and an elite ability to make adjustments when running routes. He is able to bully his way to catch inaccurate balls thrown his way. As a blocker, Smith is rather sound technically speaking, but will need to bulk up if he expects to hold his own in the NFL.
For the other possibilities, the Lions could choose to bolster their defensive line depth with a move for Trysten Hill. They could also decide to take a flier on a couple wideouts. Riley Ridley has more potential than J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, but Arcega-Whiteside isn’t as raw as Ridley. Both could provide some depth at the receiver position and would emerge as potential targets for Matt Stafford.
Featured Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images