JDSpartan follows up his great writeup for the Packers at No. 32 with more solid analysis for the Detroit Lions' second round pick at No. 44. Thankfully for him, the Steelers success outweighs all the misery he's gone through as a Lions fan over the years. Next up: the San Francisco 49ers, represented by Michael Ulhorn. - Michael B. -
Well, my second favorite team in the world, the Detroit Lions are on the clock for their second round pick. The Lions took J.J. Watt with their first pick - not the choice I would have made, but it gives them another young difference maker on their line to pair with the manbeast, Ndamukong Suh. If there was any doubt about the Lions having the best 4 man line in the NFL, it's gone now.
The Watt pick leaves the Lions with their main needs still untouched. With needs at linebacker, corner, offensive line (particularly guard and center), SS, and wide receiver, the Lions have a bunch of options. Let's break them down. Remember, the Lions take whoever they believe the BPA is almost regardless of anything else, especially positional value.
Stefen Wisnewski, G/C, Penn State - This is an interesting pick for the Lions. They need a RG & a C pretty badly, and Wisnewski would give them some versatility. He's more of an athletic/technique blocker like Jeff Saturday, versus a powerful drive blocker like Nick Mangold. He's a good player, but there is some concern that he doesn't have too much upside and might not be much better than Dominic Raiola, who they have at center now.
Rodney Hudson, G/C, Florida State - Hudson is kind of the opposite of Wisnewski, being a more powerful blocker than Wisnewski, though isn't quite as polished technique wise. Still, he offers more upside and probably more versatility because I think he would be a better guard than Wisnewski could be. Hudson is a little small though, if I remember correctly.
Benjamin Ijalana, OT/G, Villanova - Another guy with some versatility. All three of these offensive linemen can help the Lions fill their gaping hole at guard, but Ijalana gives them an opportunity to potentially move to LT and replace Jeff Backus at some point. Personally, I think he would stay at guard because the Lions are pretty happy with their fourth round pick from last year, Jason Fox. He barely played because he was rehabbing some major injuries. When Fox did play, he was solid in pass protection but didn't show much push in the run game (resulting from not working out or playing in forever). They think Fox is a player, but Ijalana shows promise as being a solid player for them at guard. I don't know how much upside he really has, but he could solidify the spot and let them ignore it for ten years or so.
Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky - Cobb is an interesting pick here. He can help out at returner (I know our own Stefan Logan played very well last year, but I expect they would want the roster spot for someone more useful outside of special teams like we did) and could develop into a solid number two receiver. Nate Burleson isn't too bad, but he's much better suited to being a slot receiver. I wish Baldwin had still been here, because the Lions would have the best collection of offensive weapons in team history (and maybe the league), but alas, I don't have the option. Even so, Cobb gives them someone for Stafford to take advantage of when teams double cover Calvin Johnson - which is essentially every play.
Bruce Carter, OLB, UNC - The Lions desperately need linebackers, and they're really, really interested in Carter. He's an absolute first round talent, and the Lions seem pretty sure he'll be ready to play by training camp (assuming there is one). He's athletic, a solid tackler, instinctive, and would be a great fit with Jim Schwartz. The Lions are only a few impact players away, and this guy has a very high ceiling.
Ras I-Dowling, CB, Virginia - Corner is a huge need for the Lions. People over at Pride of Detroit really wanted me to draft Brandon Harris, but he isn't available (and I probably wouldn't have taken him anyway). Dowling has been covered up and down on this board, so I won't go into it much. He's a contender.
Titus Young, WR, Boise State - Much of the same reasoning as Cobb, though Young is a better deep threat. His size is a major, major concern, however. He is talented and if he can stand up to the NFL beating he's going to stretch the defense and really open things up and take some pressure off Matthew Stafford, which the Lions desperately need.
Marcus Cannon, G, TCU - I love Marcus Cannon. He's huge, he's strong, and he's a mauler. I'm a big fan. Of all the guard possibilities on the list, he's the best, but his versatility and some concerns about his weight (unfounded in my opinion) have him placing a bit lower on most mocks and draft boards (though SI has him going to the Steelers in the first round right now). Still, he's a beast and I think could become one of the league's best guards, duking it out with Jahri Evans for the best RG guard around.
So, time to trim this down. I'm chopping Wisnewski and Young right off. I think there are better players on the board at the same positions and players that the Lions like more. Since they're BPA, see you guys. I'm going to cut Randall Cobb next, because I don't think you can legitimately argue him as the BPA for the Lions - their need at receiver isn't too great (though they desperately need depth, they can address this later).
I'm taking Hudson off next, because I think Cannon is a better prospect. That leaves Ijalana, Carter, Dowling, and Cannon. I think I have to dump Cannon now, however, because Ijalana is probably the better player.
This is a hard choice. Three great options, all with first round talent. The Lions are lucky to have this decision, but I think they go with Carter. Not only do I believe he is the best player of the three, the Lions have met with him a lot and he was very excited afterward. They seem to love him, so I'm taking the pick that seems likely to happen and fulfills a HUGE need. The Lions have squat at outside linebacker except low round picks or former busts. Even worse, DeAndre Levy is a solid player, but he's not an impact player. They have NOTHING scary at linebacker. At least Alphonso Smith pulled down a ton of interceptions last year, and Louis Delmas is pretty good. Carter is the guy here, because of talent, need, and because Dowling doesn't seem like a great fit for Schwartz's defense and Ijalana isn't as good.
BTSC 2011 Community Mock Draft Selections:
- Carolina Panthers -- Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
- Denver Broncos -- Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
- Buffalo Bills -- Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
- Arizona Cardinals -- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
- Cleveland Browns --
'The Snow Cone Machine'A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
- San Francisco 49ers -- Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
- Tennessee Titans -- Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
- Dallas Cowboys -- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
- Washington Redskins -- Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
- Houston Texans -- Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
- Minnesota Vikings -- Tyron Smith, OT, USC
- Detroit Lions -- JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin
- St. Louis Rams -- Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
- Miami Dolphons -- Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Brooks Reed , DE, Arizona
- New England Patriots -- Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
- San Diego Chargers -- Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue
- New York Giants -- Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Martez Wilson, LB, Illinois
- Indianapolis Colts -- Cameron Jordan, DL, California
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
- New Orleans Saints -- Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Georgia
- Seattle Seahawks -- Jake Locker, QB, Washington
- Baltimore Ravens -- Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
- Atlanta Falcons -- Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
- New England Patriots -- Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida
- Chicago Bears --Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
- New York Jets -- Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
- Pittsburgh Steelers -- Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
- Green Bay Packers -- Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
- New England Patriots -- Cameron Hayward, DE, Ohio State (33rd overall)
- Buffalo Bills -- Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame (34th overall)
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State (35th overall)
- Denver Broncos -- Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois (36th overall)
- Cleveland Browns -- Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois (37th overall)
- Arizona Cardinals -- Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada (38th overall)
- Tennessee Titans -- Andy Dalton, QB, Texas Christian (39th overall)
- Dallas Cowboys -- Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor (40th overall)
- Washington Redskins -- Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh (41st overall)
- Houston Texans -- Aaron Williams, CB, Texas (42nd overall)
- Minnesota Vikings -- Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (43rd overall)