Thanks go to JDSpartan for his look here into the revived Lions. Next up: Your Pittsburgh Steelers! And as per tradition, they'll be represented by our own maryrose!
By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-
As soon as it happened, everyone in the Detroit Lions' war room immediately dove under their desks and covered their ears - hiding from the simultaneous outcries as ESPN announced that Jonathan Martin, the somehow-underrated offensive tackle from Stanford, was about to be selected by the Cleveland Browns just one spot ahead of their pick. Matthew Stafford, chowing down at Slows BBQ in Detroit, broke down and wept as the groans of Detroiters echoed throughout the city.
"But it HURTS, guys... it just hurts SO BAD. Jeff freakin' Backus... IT HURTS!" Stafford sobbed, through bites of delicious, succulent, and tender pulled pork bathed in sweet, sticky sauce.
Back in the war room, Jim Schwartz just turned around and glared at Martin Mayhew, the GM.
"I wanted to trade up, Martin. Now I can't even do my FIST PUMP! It's TRADEMARKED, man - I'm trying to get sponsor money for it!"
Martin had only one thing to say, and it reverberated through New York City, getting an approving nod from George Lucas and winces from everyone else: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
After a moment of silent reflection, the Lions did what they do under their new, vastly more successful regime; they took a look at their board and selected the highest-ranked player on it...
Let's turn to the board and see who's left. It's a group consisting primarily of defensive line prospects, which will be the only consolation for Coach Schwartz, who loves his pass rush.
Courtney Upshaw, DE, Alabama - I'm blown away that Upshaw is still here. He's been tagged as "the football player without a position", but when I read that, I see only one thing: football player. This guy can flat out play. They said the same thing about LaMarr Woodley. They said Jack Lambert didn't fit in an NFL defense. They also said Wes Welker was too small, Drew Brees too short, Cam Newton too stupid. Upshaw can flat out play, and he'd be a good fit as a replacement for Kyle Vanden Bosch at RDE for the Lions. Upshaw is 6'1", 270+ pounds. He's strong, has an outstanding bull rush, and has a history of great production at the top of the college ranks. Sure, the Lions have holes all over, but imagine a line with Upshaw, a healthy Nick Fairley (if you watched him play the Saints in the regular season, he spent one quarter putting up stats that would make most linemen jealous over a two game span, before he went out with an injury), Ndamukong Suh, and Cliff Avril. Aaron Rodgers would wet himself the moment he walked into Ford Field.
Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois - A physical freak with great measurables (6'4", 265 pounds). He was the most productive pass rusher in college football last year, dominating his competition. He's fast, quick, strong, has some good rush moves, and plays with a great motor. He's drawn some Jason Pierre-Paul comparisons because he's an athlete that's a little bit raw. He's slotted to go higher than 23 in most drafts, but he's probably quite high on the board for the Lions and he'll definitely get consideration in this scenario.
Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin - Dominic Raiola is pretty up-and-down nowadays, and the Lions can use all the offensive line help they could get. Konz is a solid player and experienced, and comes from a factory for NFL offensive linemen. He's a good pick for the Lions, and if he somehow doesn't unseat Raiola in year one, he can play some guard too.
Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame - I love Harrison Smith. I think he's a great prospect, and the Lions need help in their secondary, especially at their second safety position. He's a good athlete and a solid player all-around, though perhaps he doesn't make too many splash plays. He's got prototypical size at 6'2", 213 pounds, and though he doesn't pull down interceptions like you'd hope, he's rarely out of position and almost always makes the tackle. You could do a lot worse, and not much better.
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama - Everyone knows this guy's story. A bit small at 5'10", 193 pounds, but Jenkins might be the best cover prospect in this draft. He certainly dominated the top receivers in the SEC lately, including handling guys like Julio Jones and A.J. Green (two pretty damn good receivers) despite their superior size. He's a top-ten talent, but comes with the character concerns which have turned teams off. In light of the Lions' recent problems with some of the very same problems that Jenkins is known for - namely, the appreciation of a certain plant that happens to be illegal - they might hesitate.
Those are probably the top-five players left on the board. Some other guys that could make an appearance in this situation would be receivers Stephen Hill and Kendall Wright - who would make an absolutely absurd receiving corps with Megatron, the promising Titus Young, the ever-reliable Nate Burleson, and the twin tight end duo of Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler. Linebackers Lavonte David or Zach Brown, offensive linemen Mike Adams or Kevin Zeitler, or any of the running backs could also appear here. Still, I think most of these players are unlikely to be at the top of their board (maybe the receivers, but I don't see them taking one in the first round this year).
So who's the pick? Let's examine the Mayhew/Schwartz track record of first rounders: Stafford, Pettigrew, Suh, Jahvid Best, and Fairley. A few things you can say about most of these guys - they all, in some way, fit the physical freak definition and were guys known for big plays. Stafford's got the biggest arm in the NFL and loves to go deep. Best is fast as hell and makes the big run his game. Suh and Fairley are meant to blow up lines every play and are prototypes for the position. The only one without absurd physical skills is Pettigrew, and he's still very much the prototypical size. They also aren't scared away from guys with only a single season of production.
Janoris Jenkins is the best player. I think the Lions love his ability, and in a year where Nick Fairley and Mikel LeShoure did not just get arrested for marijuana and a season in which the Lions did not garner headlines for undisciplined play and behavior, they would turn the card in instantly. But THIS offseason, the pick is...
Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
Mercilus brings a ton of pass rush ability and makes this line totally unblockable. It will help conceal their deficiencies in the secondary, and the Lions won't be scared off by his one-year-wonder label. He also has the most awesome name in the draft - only a guy with the name "Merciless" could stand next to a guy named "House of Spears" Suh and feel no shame. Restore the Roar boys, I'm rooting for you.
BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:
- Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
- Washington Redsinks -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
- Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
- Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
- St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
- Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
- Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
- Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
- Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
- Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
- Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
- Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
- Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
- Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
- New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
- San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
- Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
- Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
- Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
- Cleveland Browns -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford